LETTER: Sad to see the independents go

It is again very sad to see independents having to close their doors in the face of increasing costs.

As we have all seen costs have risen considerably over the last 12 months for individuals and also all businesses.

In my particular restaurant business we have seen food costs, business rates, pension contributions, waste collection, minimum wage, utility costs all rise above the current rate of inflation.

Year on year I estimate that my base costs have risen by 20 per cent plus.

Oh yes let us not forget that in most cases you are charged 20 per cent VAT when you eat out. But not when you buy a ‘meal’ from a supermarket. We are operating on a playing field that is far from level.

Not that one has too much sympathy for the ‘chains’ but a recent survey suggested one third of them were in some form of financial difficulty.

There appears to be in government both national and local a view that you can squeeze business more and more that these little increases do not matter. Let me assure all politicians that they all mount up. In an environment where it is very difficult to increase prices do not expect these are the last to fall.

Although not in the city and having the Chichester BID levy I wonder whether it is time to change their opening page from ‘strengthen the city’s appeal and create reasons for more people to visit time and time again’ to ‘helping businesses to survive!’ Is Chichester unique, in many ways it is, but in others it is like any other town and city in the UK. There is only people that can change it the citizens and visitors to the city.

I did note that someone suggested writing to our MP on this issue. Good luck with that! I have been waiting over a month for replies on two subjects not too far removed from this topic.

I do hope that the owners and staff find new opportunities soon and wish them luck.

D H Casson, Cassons Restaurant, Arundel Road, Tangmere