Newcastle businesses are suffering as high rates in the city place them under serious financial pressure, with many facing a very real threat of closure.

Council is particularly being called on to scrap the Special Benefit Rate (SBR) applied to businesses across Newcastle, Cooks Hill, Hamilton, Mayfield, Wallsend and New Lambton.

However, despite the pleas, Newcastle City CEO Jeremy Bath recently announced a program which will redirect funds away from the Business Improvement Association into running projects and events.

Additionally, despite an announced budget surplus of $11.95 million, little is being done to relieve some of the burdens affecting local businesses, including failure to address reducing parking costs which has been cited by business owners as the number one concern affecting their trading.

Hamilton Chamber President Nathan Errington is among those calling for action, and has said that Council needs to pay more more attention to the needs of businesses in the community.

“Newcastle City Council is failing. We have lost all confidence in the city administration regarding small business, so we’re calling them to start listening to the business community… They need some rate relief.”

Removal of the SBR has been cited as the main priority for local business, however this call comes alongside several other requests, including identified needs regarding infrastructure renewal and the ineffective financial assistance which was offered to businesses affected by construction during May this year.

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