Retailers dismayed over business levy

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Businesses have narrowly voted in favour of giving a controversial business improvement scheme another five-year term.

Hull Business Improvement District charges city centre firms one per cent of their rateable value for services including removing graffiti and supporting events, but has faced opposition from the start.

Of the 596 ratepayers who cast votes, 318 voted in favour, a margin of just 40 votes.

Bid manager Kathryn Shillito said the vote was close, but hoped opponents would now come on board, adding: “We maintain that the Hull Bid levy represents good value for money.”

Retailers Against The Bid, which ran a No campaign, said they were “gutted” and would be looking to challenge the result. They were angry the threshold was lowered so businesses with a rateable value of less than £5,000 did not have to pay a levy, but also did not get a vote. Mick Woollas, from one of the city’s oldest pubs, Ye Olde White Harte, said: “We are paying hard-earned money out for services we are not getting.”