Sheffield furniture shop battles on despite hefty rates bill

Michael and Paula Gilbert of Gilbert & Sons furniture shop on Sharrow Vale Road
Michael and Paula Gilbert of Gilbert & Sons furniture shop on Sharrow Vale Road
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Gilbert & Sons is a longstanding furniture and antique store that has no plans to close despite a £7,065 rates bill - but the proprietors know plenty that have.

Michael and Paula Gilbert are the second generation to run the three-floor premises on Sharrow Vale Road set up by their dad.

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Save Our High Street

They hate the size of their rates bill and the fact the building has been flooded despite paying the authorities thousands.

But they know they are the lucky ones.

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Paula said: “I have a friend who had two shops on Ecclesall Road which she closed because of the rent and rates.

“Another came out of his shop and went on the markets.”

Michael added: “It wants looking at locally and nationally from top to bottom.”

The Star and parent company Johnston Press have launched a campaign calling for an urgent reform of the rating system.

We demand rates are frozen while a review is conducted ahead of a complete overhaul of an outdated formula which is crippling High Streets.

MPs have pledged their support including Labour leader Ed Miliband and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber said businesses were suffering.

“Rotherham Council will receive £34m business rates this year - about one sixth of its income of £205m.

“About £1m is set aside for business activities through Rotherham Investment and Development Office, the rest goes into the general pot. That’s harsh.

“We need a complete review, they should be based on ability to pay.”