Posted: Sat 17th Dec 2016

Good news for Deeside high streets as Welsh Government unveils extra business rates support

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Dec 17th, 2016

An extra £10m in business rates support for high streets is to be unveiled in the Welsh Governments final Budget.

The money will be made available to help high street retailers, pubs and restaurants with their business rates, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford announced today.

The new support package for small businesses is part of the Welsh Government’s final Budget, which will be laid before the National Assembly on Tuesday (December 20).

The extra £10m will be targeted at high-street ratepayers – shops, pubs and cafes – including those which have seen their rates increase significantly as a result of the 2017 revaluation undertaken by the independent Valuation Office Agency.

The targeted rate relief scheme will be provided through a special grant – the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru have agreed the relief will be provided via a special grant in discussions ahead of the final Budget.

Announcing the new scheme today, Professor Drakeford said:

“We have been considering how we can make the best use of the additional funding now available as a result of the Autumn Statement. Some retailers across Wales are seeing substantial increases in their rates.

There are towns and communities, which have been disproportionately affected.

“Equally there are many high streets across the country where business rates are falling but retailers are still struggling.

We want to be in a position where we can offer these businesses the extra support they need.

Welsh Conservatives say the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, appears to have buckled under pressure to introduce additional support for small Welsh businesses.

The Welsh Conservatives had called for extra money to be made available to small firms affected by the recent business rate revaluations, with the Welsh Labour Government previously having refused to pledge additional cash.

Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies AM said:

“I am pleased to see that the First Minister appears to have recognised our calls, because many small firms will go bust without additional support from the Welsh Government. But what every small Welsh business wants for Christmas is the tax cut Labour promised them.

“The Labour Party reneged on a key election pledge to support small businesses with a tax cut, and the recent rate revaluations have highlighted the plight faced by Welsh SMEs as a result of that business rate betrayal.

“It has become clear that the Welsh Government’s Transitional Fund doesn’t go nearly far enough for those firms facing a huge hike in their bills in April, and there just isn’t enough capacity in the system to handle the volume of complaints.

“We await the detail in this announcement, with optimism that the First Minister will take the opportunity to put things right.”

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