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Written Statement - Business Rates Policy in Wales

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. If Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.

Business rates are now devolved to Wales. This is an historic milestone. Taking control of this tax in Wales brings both opportunity and responsibility.
I recently published the Business Rates Panel findings. These recommended short term stability in the business rates regime and emphasised the importance of maintaining a competitive offer to business.

I have already announced a number of measures to support jobs and growth. We have introduced the extension of Small Business Rates Relief until March 2016, and agreed to continue to place a cap on the business rates multiplier at 2% in 2015-16.

In addition to this, I am pleased to announce my intention to extend the Wales Retail Relief Scheme, the benefit of which will be increased to £1500 in 2015-16. This will provide much needed support for businesses right across Wales.

I will also begin work to look at the longer term recommendations made by the Business Rates Panel, including any changes that may be needed to other rate relief schemes. I will provide a further update to Members in due course.