Business tax challenged

Plans to charge extra business rates to fund London's Crossrail scheme should be dropped, Westminster City Council's leader has said.

Simon Milton insisted this week that members of business improvement districts (BIDs) in the capital that already contribute funds for local environmental improvements will be at risk of paying two sets of rates.

The council is concerned that businesses would seek to reduce their contributions to BIDs in order to pay the mayor's compulsory levy, due to be introduced in 2010. Milton suggested that there is a risk that businesses will not be able to afford both.

The council wants the current business rate system changed to ensure a fairer proportion of local business taxes is spent in their areas.

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