Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
Today, I am pleased to confirm that the Welsh Government will be extending the Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) Scheme to 2017-18 and from 2018 onwards we will put in place a new permanent scheme.
SBRR provides 100% relief to businesses with a rateable value of up to £6,000 and tapered relief from 100% to zero to those with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.
In 2016-17, enabled by £98 million of Welsh Government funding, this scheme is assisting more than 70 percent of business premises in Wales, more than half of which will pay no rates at all.
By making this announcement today we are providing small businesses with the certainty and security that this important source of support will continue, as we recognise non-domestic rates can represent a higher proportion of their costs.
Over the next 12 months, we will review the way SBRR operates with a view to introducing a new permanent scheme from 2018-19 which better targets support for small businesses.
As part of this work, we will look at ways in which we can improve the non-domestic rates system via administrative changes to improve efficiency and measures to help tackle abuse so that all ratepayers contribute their fair share to the funding of local services. This is one of the issues that stakeholders specifically raised with us in response to the consultation on the Draft Local Government Bill.
In addition to the support provided by SBRR, Business Wales provides a bilingual business support service to make it easier for Welsh businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to access the information, advice and support they require to start and grow their businesses.
Business Wales can be accessed via three main channels:
- online via businesswales.gov.wales and its social media presence;
- through a dedicated telephone helpline - 03000 6 03000; and
- through a network of offices located across Wales.