We worry about the unrelenting closure of businesses in our High Streets but Government tax plans now threaten to make this even worse, with the impact felt even more keenly in deprived areas of the country such as Thanet.
Thanet, like many other local councils fighting the impact of the recession, complained vigorously over the business rates fiasco which has driven so many small shops and businesses to the wall but now, predicted tax rises of £100 million are threatening to accelerate this process.
According to reports in today's papers, Ministers have admitted that 100,000 of the smallest companies are likely to be taxed an average of £1,000 extra each over the next three years.
The Government's own estimates suggest that one in 20 small businesses will fail while trying to pay and suggest that the Government's decision to end relief on business rates will see small companies have to pay £40million more this year, £30million more in 2010-11, and £30million more in 2011-12.
Business rates, which are the equivalent of council tax for companies, are based on the rateable value of the premises, roughly the same as a year's rent.
Every five years, premises are revalued to calculate rate levels - but increases are traditionally phased in over the following five years to protect many companies from large rises in bills.
However, transitional relief from the last revaluation of commercial property in 2005 has been allowed to expire early this year, hitting many companies. Some who had enjoyed long-term relief are faced with a decade's worth of increased bills.
The Government has previously repeatedly refused to answer Parliamentary questions on the number of firms subject to transitional relief.
Small businesses are the life blood of this country and have a disproportionate influence on the local economy outside the big cities. While recognising the urgent need for Government to raise taxes to plug the £50billion - £90billion hole in its finances, driving small business ever more quickly to the wall and steadily emptying our struggling High Streets as a result is not the answer.
Invariably, the local council, as the Government's business rates 'Tax collector' takes the blame for lines of empty shops but the real responsibility lies elsewhere and at the present rate of attrition, the future for our battered High Streets looks grim indeed!