FORTHCOMING business rate changes could have a ‘devastating’ impact on town centres like Otley.

That is the claim being made by Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West, Alex Sobel. Under government plans rates are due to be revalued next April. Mr Sobel says the changes will raise rates for town centre businesses while reducing them for out-of-town firms, with the average small business having to pay an extra £3,663 over the next five years.

He said: “Otley town centre has been revived in recent years but I’ve spoken with business owners about their struggle under a damaging rates system. The revaluation could be devastating for many of them. This is why we need a complete overhaul of the rates system.”

Conservative candidate Stewart Harper said: “Boris Johnson has already committed to review business rates and the burden of taxation on business generally. Business is the backbone of our country and provides jobs and economic growth, but under a Corbyn-led government businesses of all sizes would be at risk.”