An extra £10m 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.
“This targeted relief scheme will be in place by April 1 next year when the revised rates come into force.
“This is in addition to our £10m transitional relief scheme, also available from April 1 and the £100m tax cut for small businesses in Wales provided by the small business rates relief scheme.”
Adam Price, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for business, economy and finance, said:
“The recent revaluation has clearly hit businesses the length and breadth of Wales hard. The impact is especially acute for certain sectors such as tourism, and a particular problem in some regions of the nation.
“We have taken heed of the concerns of businesses, and urged the government to take action – we are glad that they have responded constructively.”
Leighton Jenkins, Assistant Director and Head of Policy for CBI Wales commented:
“We welcome this measure to assist businesses on our high streets, whether in the retail sector or associated with the tourism industry. This is recognition by Welsh Government that the 2017 rating revaluation will have a differential impact upon certain parts of our economy.”
The new special relief scheme is on top of the £10m transitional rate relief scheme for those small businesses whose eligibility for small business rates relief is affected by the revaluation.
The Welsh Government will be working closely with local authorities to implement the scheme. Further details about how it will operate will be published on the Welsh Government website.