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The ‘Autumn Statement’ yesterday provided some hope for ratepayers across Wrexham with some new relief’s being introduced and opportunities to get empty shops on the high street occupied again.

The main points from the budget statement in terms of business rates are are as follows :

- The small business rates relief scheme which sees properties under £12,000 rateable value being exempt from business rates, will be extended until 2015.

- Next years rates bills increase will be capped at 2% rather than the usual link to RPI inflation which would have seen a rise of 3.2%.

- As of April next year rate payers will be able to pay their rates across 12 monthly instalments rather than the usual 10, making monthly payments cheaper, but obviously you don’t get the 2 month break from payments in Feb and March if you choose that method.

- Government hope the backlog of appeals should be cleared by 2015. This does appear to be an odd target, as five years is quite a long time for a conclusion!

- Introduction of ‘Reoccupation relief’ for new occupiers into empty premises will see a relief of 50%, likely to be for around 3-6 months.

- If you are a retail premises i.e cafes, restaurant or pub with a rateable value below £50,000 you will get £1,000 off your rates bill for two years.

The Chancellor also said that a reform to the business rates system was being looked at for the next revaluation in 2017.

The Autumn Statement also said a draft Wales Bill will be published in the current parliamentary session which will set out new borrowing powers to support capital investment, devolve stamp duty land tax and landfill tax in Wales, and provide for a referendum to be held so that people in Wales can decide whether responsibility for some of their income tax should be devolved.