Tuesday 21 February 2017 12:51 pm

Sadiq Khan "shocked" at business rate rises that threaten small firms

London mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is "shocked" by the business rate rises set to hit the capital, and has told chancellor Philip Hammond the tax changes could wipe out firms across the city.

He has warned that the changes to commercial property taxes, which will come into effect on 1 April, could force the closure of thousands of London's small businesses.

Khan has written to chancellor Philip Hammond to raise his concerns over the planned changes, in a letter signed by business groups including the London Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and the New West End Company.

Read more: Rates row: Government accused of misleading MPs over business rates

London will be handed a £900m business rate hike when the revaluation comes into effect, the mayor has said. Business rates haven't changed for seven years. The rates are tied to rental values, and as rents have rocketed in the capital since the last revaluation, London firms will be hit particularly hard.

The mayor warned that the bill for the UK's most important business centre could rise to £1.1bn.

In a statement, Khan said: 

I was elected on a mandate of being London’s most pro-business Mayor ever and I am genuinely shocked that the government’s actions will damage the prospects of so many businesses in the capital, putting many at risk of closure.

The very character of our local high streets is under threat – London’s businesses have been warning about the damaging effect of this skewed and unfair revaluation for months and yet the government blunders on.