An Assembly Member has welcomed a new £10m Welsh Government scheme to help small businesses, which he says are ‘the lifeblood of our local economies’.
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford today announced details of a £10m targeted relief programme to provide extra support for independent firms across Wales from April.
The initiative dovetails with one of Welsh Labour’s six key pledges ahead of last year’s Assembly election – tax cuts for all small businesses.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said: “I’m pleased to see the Welsh Government introduce this scheme and hope it will help ease the pressures which I know many small firms in my constituency and throughout Wales are under.
“Our pubs, restaurants, newsagents, butchers, barbers and so on are the lifeblood of our local economies, and the Welsh Government has been working closely with local authorities to develop the scheme and prepare for its implementation.”
The scheme will support almost 15,000 businesses, including those which have seen their rates increase as a result of the independent Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) changes which comes into effect on April 1.
Eligible retailers will receive up to £1,500 off their non-domestic rates bill if they have a rateable value of £50,000 or less in the 2017-18 financial year.
Professor Drakeford said: “Some retailers are concerned about increases in their rates as a result of the VOA’s revaluation. We are therefore providing a further £10m to help businesses which have been adversely affected.
“This new scheme is in addition to the £100m tax cut for small businesses in Wales provided by Small Business Rates Relief. It will provide vital support to ratepayers on high streets across Wales and offer these businesses extra support.”
Retailers can find out whether they are eligible for the high street rates relief scheme in 2017-18 by contacting their local council.
Ben Cottam, head of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses Wales, said: “We welcome that the Welsh Government has made good on its commitment to easing the pressure on high street businesses. We also welcome the engagement with FSB on this issue in recent months.
“We would now encourage local authorities to engage quickly with businesses to ensure that all those who are entitled to this relief receive it as quickly and simply as possible.”