A proposed sharp rates rise is threatening the future of a riding stables business in West Pinchbeck.
Four Winds Equestrian Centre proprietor Paula Leverton says the rise equates to an extra £200 per month and passing that amount on to clients is troublesome for the business.
She said: “Nobody objects to an increase but it’s got to be in line. We can’t absorb that sort of cost.
“We could go out of business – it’s got to be worth doing it and in these economic times there is only so much you can pass on.”
The rateable value of the premises in Leaveslake Drove is set to rise from £10,500 currently to £18,000 from April 2017.
The issue is not just peculiar to Four Winds – riding stables across the country are facing similar increases. The British Horse Society is running a national campaign to tackle the increase, which it says is higher than other local businesses and could result in many riding schools shutting.
Mrs Leverton plans to lobby local MP John Hayes and is asking the countless clients who have used her yard over the past 36 years to do the same.
She said: “My rates are due to go up to 70 per cent in April, it seems the Government are trying to kill off riding schools. This is a great shame in the days of rising obesity as we are helping to get children and adults out of the house and doing some exercise in the country.
“There is a common misconception that people with horses are affluent but actually it is quite the opposite. We have higher overheads as we are caring for animals. And I would like to point out that many shelters are currently full with horses.
“We will be unable to absorb an increase of this type. Recently we have had massive insurance increases and now this. In order to survive we will need to significantly put up prices just to cover this.”
- A report in Retail Gazette last month said business rates are set to cost retailers £2.3billion by rising an average of £465million per year for the next five years.