Think Pink: Hundreds More Shops Claim Tax Break

Response rate in Wandsworth one of the highest in London

Hundreds more local shops, cafes and other small high street businesses have now claimed a discount on their business rates bills following the launch of the council’s ‘pink letter’ campaign.

Earlier this month the council sent out bright pink letters to local businesses advertising a tax break of up to £1,000 a year. The response rate has since jumped from 21 per cent to 56.4 – one of the highest in London. In total Wandsworth’s small high street traders are now saving more than £975,000 through the ‘retail rates relief scheme’ and the figure is rising.

Councillors and council staff continue to knock on doors to encourage more business owners to make a claim. A second round of bright pink letters will be sent out next week to every eligible trader.

The campaign is backed by the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce and other local councils are now copying Wandsworth’s successful approach.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, (pictured left with Steve Pinto, chair of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce) said:
“This council understands the pressures facing the high street and that is why we put so much energy into promoting this valuable tax break. We now have one of the best response rates in London and our target is to finish top of the pile. Our small businesses are on course to save over £1m which is money that can be reinvested in our local economy.”

The pink envelope contains a quick and easy application form for the Government’s ‘retail rates relief’ scheme. Once it’s sent back to the council it could mean the business is given up to a £1,000 discount on their business rates bill this year and another £1,000 off in 2015/16.

Businesses that could qualify for the scheme include shops, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, pubs and bars, post offices, charity shops, hairdressers and beauty salons, dry cleaners, other high street stores, food outlets and services.

To be eligible, they would need a ratable value of £50,000 or below.

Business rates are collected by local councils but are set by the Valuation Office Agency which is part of HM Revenue and Customs.

To join the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce visit

August 11, 2014