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The head of North West high street chain Timpson has warned of the stifling effect of business rates on companies looking to expand and vowed he would never sell the family business.

Speaking at Insider's 42 under 42 dinner, held at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester last night (15 October 2012), chief executive James Timpson said he had looked at opening a new site in Stockport recently but the rent of £10,000 was almost half the business rates of £18,000.

Timpson said: "Business rates have got completely out of hand. It's become a real stifler and is stopping businesses from taking more space and trying new things. The higher the business rates, the harder the gamble is to pay off."

Manchester-based Timpson provides key cutting, engraving, shoe repair and dry cleaning services and in 2008 bought nearly 200 Max Spielmann photo processing shops.

The company's roots can be traced back to 1870 when William Timpson opened his first shop in Manchester before launching more businesses around the city.

In the year to October 2011, Timpson parent Offerhappy posted pre-tax profit of £12.8m on sales of £132m.

During a Q&A session, Timpson said he would never consider selling the business.

"It's my hobby and something I love doing. To maintain wealth, you need to keep it in the business."

He urged audience members to take a broad approach to recruitment, citing the company's successful programme of hiring ex-offenders, adding that 25 per cent of over-18s in the UK had a criminal conviction.

Last night's dinner celebrated 2012's '42 under 42', a list of the brightest business stars from across the North West under the age of 42.

Entrants on the list are involved in businesses in the region, either as owner-managers or working high up in large organisations.

Technology companies feature heavily but this year's list has seen a resurgence of property, recruitment and professional services as well as a private detective.


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