Wales has welcomed a £460m business rates support package announced by the Welsh government, but say more help is needed to support vulnerable firms.
The package, which is spread over two years from 2023-2024, sees the non-domestic rates multiplier frozen, ensuring no inflationary increase in the rates businesses will pay.
The announcement comes after the Fed’s national president, Jason Birks, joined 15 leading business representatives earlier this month calling for a freeze to business rates ahead of the Welsh government’s budget.
In the letter to Rebecca Evans, the Welsh minister for finance and local government, signatories had urged the government not to increase the multiplier rate, which is at a 23-year-high and above other UK countries.
Upcoming retail business rates reductions to create window of opportunity for scammers
Announcing the package, Evans said: “We know businesses are feeling the pressure of spiralling energy costs and rising inflation, while they are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic. We want businesses to know now that we will continue to apply substantial discounts to their rates bills.”
Minster for economy Vaughan Gething added: “We want Wales to be an attractive place to live, study, work and invest with businesses supported to deliver a stronger, fairer, greener Welsh economy.”
However, the Fed’s Welsh president, Vince Malone, said while the package was welcome, it didn’t cover his “complete wish-list”. He said: “It’s great the government understands the pressure that retailers are under. However, we think it should have been announced earlier in line with England as this would have caused less emotional stress.”
He added that more support was needed for outlier businesses that will continue to struggle. “Attention needs to be drawn to businesses that are the last retailers in a village to ensure they don’t close,” he said.
Hundreds of cash machines to become business-rates exempt in Scotland
“Post Offices already get some relief, but they provide another level of service in remote places and these should also be looked at. There is always more we’d like done.”
Also announced in the budget is a further £113m of transitional relief for all ratepayers whose bills increase by more than £300 following an upcoming UK-wide re-evaluation, which will take effect from April 2023.
Another £140m will support businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality. Eligible ratepayers will receive 75% non-domestic rates relief, a rise of 25% on relief provided this year.
The package will operate in addition to other permanent relief schemes provided by the Welsh government worth £240m across Wales.
Read more business rates news and articles
This article doesn't have any comments yet, be the first!