The Welsh Government is to extend its rate relief scheme for high street businesses and other retailers into next year.
The government says the enhanced scheme will go significantly further than in previous years, providing support to all retailers in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000.
Each will receive a £2,500 cut to their business rates next year, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced.
As well as increasing the level of support for retailers on the high street, the enhanced scheme will support retailers in other locations.
Ratepayers who will benefit from the relief include those with occupied retail premises, such as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars.
Commenting on the announcement of further business rates relief, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“We’re very pleased that Welsh Government has listened to calls from FSB Wales and will use the £26 million on further business rates relief support for businesses across Wales.
In FSB’s recent work on the Future of Welsh Towns, businesses told us that business rates were one of the top issues detracting from town centre performance.
Business rates are an important part of the wider conversation about how we ensure that the future of our towns is sustainable and dynamic.
A £2500 rates bill cut will have a huge impact on many firms, but there is still more work to do to ensure that this system provides businesses with the certainty that they need, and we look forward to working with Welsh Government on this and many other issues.”
Finance Secretary Professor Drakeford said:
“The high street is at the heart of local communities, providing a central hub for people to shop, eat and socialise.
“The current economic conditions and competition from the internet and out-of-town shopping centres, have hit some high street businesses hard.
“This enhanced high street rate relief scheme for 2019-20 will ensure more ratepayers across Wales receive support to pay their bills and can continue to provide much-needed services to their local communities.”
The Welsh Government launched the high street rates relief scheme in April 2017 to provide targeted support for business affected by the independent revaluation and by the growth of internet sales.
A ‘technical note’ accompanied this morning’s written statement, adding:
The eligibility criteria for qualifying businesses for the enhanced high street and retail rates relief scheme are as follows.
i. Hereditaments that are being used wholly or mainly for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public.
ii. Hereditaments that are being used wholly or mainly for the provision of the retail services to visiting members of the public
iii. Hereditaments that are being used wholly or mainly for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public
The relief will exclude:
i. Hereditaments with a valuation of more than £50,000.
ii. Hereditaments not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.
iii. Hereditaments that are not occupied.
iv. Hereditaments that are in receipt of mandatory charitable rates relief.