American candy stores in London are the subject of a council inquiry into financial problems, it has been reported. Westminster Council is to examine 30 such retail outlets on Oxford Street alone.
The council launched its investigation after finding they were allegedly not paying full business fees, reports said. Up to £7.9m in business tariffs could be left out MailOnline has called.
One TikToker has been credited with bringing issues to light. CazzaTime recently shared a clip in which he suggested opening an investigation into the money laundering allegations.
According to TikToker, there is said to be a trend for businesses to be wound up before business fees are due. MailOnline claims companies that share directors with Kingdom of Sweets – they are called Croftray Limited and Old Green Limited – have already been wound up because they owed £2million in interest.
CazzaTime TikTok account specializes in personal finance clips. Of his more than 207,000 followers, 12,000 liked the clip in which he explains his “candy store” theory.
A Kingdom of Sweets spokesman told MailOnline: “We are a respectable company that pays all relevant taxes and business taxes. The problem of competing stores opening and then closing without paying store taxes has adversely affected our trade in a very difficult environment.
“As a responsible business, we support plans to address this practice and will continue to work with Westminster Council.”
Councilor Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, told MailOnline: “Anyone walking down Oxford Street is struck by the ever-growing number of US-style sweet shops and poor quality souvenir shops. Not only are they an eyesore, they are a threat to the status and value of what is reputed to be the country’s premier shopping street.
“The problem is that building owners turn a blind eye to sub-lessors because it means they don’t have to pay business fees. That’s why we have a glut of US candy stores in prestigious locations.
“This has to stop and we will step up the pressure on landlords to make it clear that they are responsible for Oxford Street being overrun with deals like this. The people who sell overpriced sweets are cheating the UK taxpayer and very often cheating their customers into the bargain.”