A new ‘enhanced’ package of support on business rates for the ‘high street’ has been welcomed locally.
The new enhanced scheme will go ‘significantly further’ than in previous years, providing support to all retailers in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000. Although often called support for the High Street it will support retailers in other locations as noted here.
Last month local Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths facilitated a discussion between fellow Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary and soon to be First Minister and local business representatives on the topic of business rates. Yesterday the plans were unveiled with ‘enhanced’ business rates support for High Street by extending rates relief scheme.
One person who attended the meeting last month was Alex Jones, the Chair of the Town Centre Forum, a group that has business rates on it’s agenda for several years. He reacted to yesterdays news, saying: “After writing to Mr Drakeford and arranging a meeting with him regarding this issue we are pleased that the Welsh Government are bridging the gap on business rates.
“I would like to see a complete overhaul on the way rates are calculated and make it a fairer system which includes online businesses. High Streets have suffered enough over the years and now is the time to seriously look into how we can move forward and create a fair system.”
Forum Steering Group Chairman Sam Regan said: “I welcome Mr Drakeford’s announcement today, as it will certainly help the struggling high streets across Wales. It’s definitely a step in the right direct, but for the future of town centres a more detailed review has to take place.
“A better parity in rates needs to be found between online exclusive and traditional retailers.”
Wrexham’s AM Lesley Griffiths told us: “Traditional high street retailers have faced significant obstacles in recent times and the issue of business rates has been a growing concern in Wrexham and across the country.”
“Having made representations on behalf of local businesses and recently helping facilitate a meeting between the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and local business leaders, it’s clear the Welsh Government has listened to the concerns and I am sure this additional support will be welcomed.”
“It’s estimated this enhanced scheme will support an additional 15,000 ratepayers across Wales which will not only make a positive difference to local traders, but will also help strengthen public services for the community.”
We also asked Wrexham Council for their reaction to the news however had no reply from them or a Lead Member.
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