The Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans today met with the Head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, Sara Jones, to explore opportunities to work together to help revive struggling high streets and town centres in Wales.
Recognising the ongoing challenges faced by the Welsh retail sector the Welsh Government already provides a number of bespoke packages to help eligible businesses pay their bills.
The high street rates relief scheme was developed in collaboration with local authorities and has been providing support for businesses since 2017. The scheme has been enhanced by £23.6 million this year, providing support to 15,000 small and medium-sized retail businesses. This support is in addition to the £210 million relief that the Welsh Government provides to businesses in Wales each year. These reliefs benefit more than three-quarters of ratepayers in Wales.
And for 2019-20 a further £2.4 million has been allocated to local authorities to provide additional discretionary rates relief for local businesses, allowing them to respond to specific local needs.
For smaller businesses our permanent small business rates relief scheme provides certainty and security to around 70,000 ratepayers across Wales with over £110 million of relief and more than half paying no rates at all.
Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans said:
“Our relief schemes are targeted to the needs of ratepayers in Wales and reflect the differences in the tax base between Wales and other countries in the UK.
“They are specifically designed to help relieve the pressures that the Welsh retail sector is facing in a fast changing environment. I am committed to working with the sector to improve and modernise our system to make sure that it is fit for the future.
“I recognise the importance of a healthy retail sector in Wales, so today’s meeting provided a good opportunity to hear the views of Welsh retailers on how we could best use our resources to help maintain a sustainable retail sector.”
The next non-domestic rates revaluation in Wales will take place in 2021, a year earlier than planned. This change will ensure that the rateable values on which rates bills are based reflect up-to-date market conditions and help ratepayers to plan ahead.