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Rates are killing my business'

PUBLISHED: 15:45 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

STRUGGLE: Rifo Sucu inside his restaurant.

STRUGGLE: Rifo Sucu inside his restaurant.

A RESTAURANT owner has accused the government of trying to kill small businesses after increasing the business rates. Rifo Sucu, owner of Casa Mexicana, in New Road, Gravesend, was furious to learn the rates for April 2010 to March 2011 had risen from

A RESTAURANT owner has accused the government of "trying to kill small businesses" after increasing the business rates.

Rifo Sucu, owner of Casa Mexicana, in New Road, Gravesend, was furious to learn the rates for April 2010 to March 2011 had risen from about £13,000 to more than £17,000, an increase of 31 per cent.

He even claimed some trendy up-market parts of London are more affordable with cheaper business rates.

Mr Suco said: "I couldn't believe it when the letter came through. How can it increase that much? It's killing my business.

"We can't survive with this increase. I've attempted to sell because I simply can't afford it, but no one is interested in a property with such huge business rates. It's very sad for me.

"The big problem for Gravesend as a town is that I won't be the only one, small businesses all across Gravesend will struggle with these new rates.

"I saw one place in Shoreditch on the internet that is nearly twice the size as my restaurant but with lower business rates. How does that happen? This is Gravesend, not the West End."

Mr Sucu also admitted he has been left frustrated in his bid to discover the reasons behind the increase.

He added: "I called the council to find out why it's gone up so much, but all I was told is 'that's the way it happens'. No reasonable explanation was offered.

"We were told we can appeal it, but we won't succeed and there's a chance the increase could be even more."

Onur Simsek, owner of Rainbow Takeaway, also in New Road, backed up the claims.

He said: "Business is going down and the rates continue to go up.

"Many businesses will go under because of this, it's very worrying. That is one thing you can be certain of, businesses will not survive this increase."

A spokesperson for the Valuation Office Agency said: "The National Non-Domestic Rate was increased by 41p in the pound for 2010-2011.

"Rates in busier places like London can be lower sometimes because there are more businesses per square mile putting money back into the economy.

"The restaurant owner is welcome to appeal the increase through the Valuation Office Agency website, and they may even be able to receive Small Business Rate Relief.

"We're always happy to help business owners if they have any concerns.

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