A Birmingham electrical supplier faces a permanent blackout – thanks to an “incorrect” rates demand for more than £66,000 in a row over a derelict floor.
Bosses at Bordesley-based Borshch Electric are furious over rates bills they claimed could tip the firm over the edge and jeopardise the jobs of 32 workers.
The row centres on rates being demanded for the firm’s top floor which bosses said had been empty ever since the Upper Trinity Street premises were opened.
Borshch Electric director Phil Cox said: “Ever since we moved in, it has always been an empty, derelict floor – there is no power or anything.
“We have always paid zero rates on the top floor because it has been empty. We have always paid our rates on time and as a company we run on very tight cash-flows.”
In a letter to Birmingham City Council, Mr Cox told the authority: “Your demands and the effect of the valuation office changing its minds on our assessment is putting our whole company in jeopardy.
“We now have the second request for £66,584.94 for a top floor that was previously devalued and we are at a complete loss as to why this has now been revised.
“Our business cannot pay this figure in a one-off sum and it is impossible for us to put forward a payment plan for this without knowing what the coming year’s rates bill will be so we can calculate our cash flow.
“I am appalled at the treatment our company has received from your department in this matter; real people are having their livelihoods put in danger.”
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said the rating list was set nationally by the Valuation Office Agency and was out of the authority’s control.
“The council sympathises with the position that Borshch Electric finds itself in due to the back-dated entries in the Rating List,” he said.
“Due to the unusual circumstances we will liaise directly with them around these outstanding charges.”
The spokesman said the council would consider hardship relief for Borshch.