As my 12-year-old daughter and I were sitting in a café in Clitheroe town centre enjoying a drink at the weekend, we mused over the sad news that Tots to Teens is to go the same way as a number of businesses in the town, and is is imminently to close down.
As we looked out across the street from where we were sitting, my daughter pointed out that, of the three shops that we could see, two of them were lying empty. I explained to her my rudimentary knowledge of business rates and how shops in town are sufferning because of the high rates they are charged.
She is no economist, but she is not bad at maths and it was her turn to explain something to me. She asked me to imagine that the council charged all shops in the town £10,000 to pay their rates. She figured that if they charged £4,000 instead and all three of the shops in our eye line were occupied and paying the money the council would be earning themselves £12,000, while the shops would be paying less and might not have to close down.
She then told me we would all have a better experience if we were not faced by shabby, empty shops.
There must be a flaw in her argument somewhere, as otherwise surely the council would have thought of these things already. But I can’t think what it is. Over to the council to explain the economics to us...