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Welsh Government Announces £10m Rate Relief Scheme for High Street Firms

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Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford, has this week revealed plans to help struggling businesses facing higher business rates.

Singing the praises of a £10m rate relief scheme that will support 15,000 shops, restaurants and pubs in Wales, Drakeford has identified an area of Welsh business in need of extra support.

Set to be rolled out in February, the money will help businesses that have seen a change in rates due to a revaluation of their premises. In addition to firms with increased overheads, support will also be provided to companies facing issues in the digital age, with Welsh Government planning to help those struggling with current economic conditions and out-of-town competition.

2932945_1ab25bf9On Wednesday, property experts claimed that with forecasted rate rises, we could see many rural retail shops put out of business. Analysts also predicted that e-commerce giants Amazon, are expecting a rate reduction on its warehouse in Swansea.

Mr Drakeford said:

“This new scheme is in addition to the £10m transitional relief scheme, which will also be available from April 1 and the £100m tax cut for small businesses in Wales provided by small business rates relief.

“It will provide vital support to ratepayers on high streets across Wales and offer these businesses extra support.”

The relief scheme means eligible retailers with a rateable value of £50,000 or less will enjoy up to £1,500 off their business rates. The government will work with a two-tier system.

  • *High street retailers with a £6,001 to £12,000 rateable value, already receiving small business rates relief or transitional rates relief, will have their rates bill reduced by £500 or to zero if their bill is less than £500.
  • *Eligible high street retailers with a £12,001 to £50,000 rateable value facing a rates increase in April will have their rates bill reduced by £1,500.

Ben Cottam, from the Federation of Small Businesses, says the scheme will encourage some much-needed ‘breathing space’ for companies who have concerns over their overheads.

Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Adam Price said his party was pleased to;

“Deliver this additional £10m to support businesses affected by the recent business rates revaluation as part of the recent budget deal between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government”.

“However the Labour Welsh Government must now honour its National Assembly election pledge and deliver a fairer business rates relief scheme in Wales, which must include more regular revaluations,” he said.

Working on a permanent scheme to be actioned in 2018, it seems Welsh Government are placing more and more focus on this area going forward.

To find out whether your business qualifies for the high street rates relief scheme, contact your local council.