Businesses around Wales were given a boost when Economy Minister Edwina Hart announced a £15m package to cut business rates bills.
This includes an £11.5million funding package to help cut rates bills for retailers and food and drink premises.
The Wales Retail Relief Scheme will provide £1000 discount on the business rates bill to all qualifying retail premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000. Grant funding will be made available to local authorities to operate the scheme in their area in 2014-15.
The Minister has also announced an additional £3.5m fund for local authorities to provide additional, targeted rates relief. It will give local authorities the flexibility to use their local knowledge to provide rates relief support to other businesses that have been negatively affected by the postponement of revaluation.
This ‘local need’ scheme is unique to Wales and local authorities will determine the criteria against which reliefs will be awarded. Businesses should contact their local authority for more information.
Wales Retail Relief can be provided in addition to Small Business Rates Relief and relief provided under the Open for Business Scheme as well as any hardship or discretionary relief awarded by the local authority.
The Minister said:” Together these support packages will provide assistance to many businesses during this current economic situation and also inject money into the Welsh economy and support jobs.
“It goes beyond assisting retailers and forms part of the package of Welsh Government aid aimed at supporting Wales’ high streets and shopping areas to become more sustainable in what is currently a rapidly changing retail environment.
“The Business Rates Task and Finish Group I set up indicated that retail business has been most affected by the UK Government’s decision to postpone business rates revaluation. This rates relief scheme is targeted at those businesses.
“Local authorities are in the best position to understand particular local need and may use the additional funding I announced to provide business rates relief in a way which supports other local economic development priorities. In addition, local authorities may wish to collaborate on regional or city regional areas.”
Local authorities will be responsible for marketing the schemes in their area and information will also be available on the Business Wales website. Detailed criteria for the Wales Retail Relief Scheme will be contained in guidance to be published on the Welsh Government website.