High Street and Retail Rate Relief Scheme Extended by Welsh Government

  Posted: 10.01.20 at 12:25 by The Editor

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The Welsh Government has agreed to extend the High Street and Retail Rates Relief scheme for an additional year which is aimed to help small and medium-sized businesses and will hopefully bolster some business in the Barry area.

Barry High Street is fortunate to have an array of independent retailers but Holton Road has faced a plethora of issues maintaining shops and stores.

Some empty businesses have remained unfilled for a long while around the town centre.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for Barry.

A number of innovative shops have opened in the past year on Holton Road since investment has been targeted towards the area.

In a recent study, it was also found that Barry was the best town for retaining chain shops in Wales.

The Zero Waste store has proven to be extremely popular and a well-known furniture store, Aspirations UK, is making the move to the town centre.

On 10 December 2018, the Welsh Government launched the enhanced High Street and Retail Rates Relief scheme for 2019-20. The scheme has provided targeted support to help high street and retail properties with their non-domestic rates bills.

Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd said: ''I am today extending the scheme for a further year, providing support to all retailers in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000.

''We will make a £24.2m of support available in 2020-21 through the high street and retail rates relief scheme to support Welsh businesses.

''This is in addition to the more than £230m we provide through our other reliefs to help businesses pay their rates bills.

''The high street and retail rates relief scheme will provide support to over 15,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 2020-21.

''It will be fully funded by the Welsh Government and will provide support of up to £2,500 towards the rates bills for retail properties with a rateable value of up to £50,000.

''It will reduce rates bills to zero for retail properties with a rateable value up to £9,100 and reduce bills by £2,500 for properties with a higher rateable value.

''As well as supporting retailers on the high street, the scheme will continue to support retailers in other locations.

''Ratepayers benefitting from the relief include those with occupied retail premises such as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars.

''A further £2.4m will be allocated to local authorities to provide additional discretionary rates relief for local businesses and other ratepayers to respond to specific local issues.

''This funding will be provided through the local government settlement, taking the total being provided to local authorities for discretionary relief to £4.8m for 2020-21.

''This extension to the high street rates relief scheme and the additional funding for discretionary rates relief, together with our permanent small business rates relief scheme, which has been in place since April 2018 and other bespoke reliefs, combine to offer timely and targeted support for ratepayers across Wales.

''This scheme will continue to be administered by local authorities on an application basis and operates in addition to the wide range of other support provided by the Welsh Government.''

Commenting on the announcement from Welsh Government on a further £24 million in business rates relief, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said: “Business rates have been identified as one of the most challenging issues facing high street businesses across Wales, many of whom will welcome more business rates relief from Welsh Government today.

“For some time FSB Wales has been calling for the business rates system to be made fairer and more transparent – business owners need to be able to work with a system that allows them to plan for their business with certainty without the threat of a large increase in their business rates bill looming over them.

''We are pleased that Welsh Government has listened to FSB on the issue of more business rates relief, and hope that alongside this they will consider a move to more frequent revaluations to help build confidence within the business community.

“That being said, it is important to stress that business rates are only one issue facing high street businesses today. In our work on the future of Welsh towns, businesses told us that a myriad of issues are affecting them and their success; such as the move to online shopping, out-of-town shopping centres and decreased footfall in our town centres.

''Tackling the issues faced by our towns requires a well-rounded approach that reflects the needs and experiences of that area.

''That’s why we’ve called for a Future of Towns Fund, which would enable local communities to pitch in for funding that would enable them to implement innovate thinking that would help lead to healthy, sustainable towns and high streets across the country.

“We hope that today’s announcement is only the beginning of the Welsh Government looking at how we can protect and strengthen high streets and towns across the country.”

The eligibility criteria for qualifying businesses for the enhanced high street and retail rates relief scheme are as follows:

• Hereditaments that are being used wholly or mainly for the sale of goods to visiting members of the public.
• Hereditaments that are being used wholly or mainly for the provision of the retail services to visiting members of the public
• Hereditaments that are being used wholly or mainly for the sale of food and/or drink to visiting members of the public.

The relief will exclude:
• Hereditaments with a valuation of more than £50,000.
• Hereditaments not reasonably accessible to visiting members of the public.
• Hereditaments that are not occupied.
• Hereditaments that are in receipt of mandatory charitable rates relief.

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