Group slams Mile rent rises

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THE Federation of Small Businesses has accused the city council of going back on its pledge to support independent retailers on the Royal Mile by imposing rent hikes of up to 60 per cent.

Development manager Gordon Henderson said the rises were “unhelpful” in the face of the economic downturn and contradicted claims the council wants to encourage more locally-owned shops to open there.

The accusation comes after the Evening News last week reported The Scottish Soapworks and Bagpipes Galore were to close due to the rises. The council said rents reflected market values of premises and could only be increased when leases came up for review.