Concerns For Southend Arcades

Trade body Bacta said businesses faced an average additional tax bill of £400,000, which will "almost certainly'' add to the 200 arcade closures in the past two years.

A report by Ernst & Young for Bacta found that the worst hit businesses could face an extra tax bill of over £1 million a year.

Derek Petrie, president of Bacta, said: "At present we have a taxation system that works and is understood by arcade owners. In front of us we have a proposal to discard that system and replace it with a new tax that will threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of operators at seaside resorts across the UK.

"The new system will introduce further complexity and a burden of compliance to an already strained industry. The data from Ernst & Young clearly states that the losers from these changes will face large, crippling new tax bills of #400,000 on average. This change is disruptive, unwarranted and under-researched."

Derek Jarvis is the Executive Councillor of Culture and Tourism at Southend Council. He's been telling Heart there's no need to worry yet: "The next time this will surface is when the Finance Bill 2012 is being put together so it will not be implement until 2013. So there's a good deal of water to go under the bridge yet."

He added: "Our duty is to get the tourists into the town and obviously spend their money in the arcades. I would hope that the fairness that would seem to be in the idea behind this bill does prove to be so, but there's a good deal more time to run on this yet."

Here more from Councillor Derek Jarvis here.

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