The Welsh Government has announced that its small business rate relief scheme will be extended for 2017-18 and made permanent in 2018.
Under the current scheme, business premises with a rateable value of up to £6,000 will receive 100% relief and those with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000 will receive relief on a tapered basis from 100% to zero.
The current arrangements are being extended to 2017-18, and the Welsh government said it would consider how it could improve the system for 2018.
The Welsh government claims that 70% of small businesses in Wales benefit from small business rates relief, with around half of those eligible paying no rates at all.
Welcoming the decision, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman: “Small business rate relief is an important scheme to allow local shops and other businesses to invest in their long term future. We welcome the extension of the rate relief scheme in Wales, and will continue discussions with officials in Wales about the details of the permanent scheme to be introduced from 2018.”
Welsh local government secretary Mark Drakeford said: “Over the course of the next year, we will be considering how we can improve the system for 2018, so we better target support for small businesses and, acting on the feedback we’ve received, ensuring the small minority who try to avoid paying rates pay their fair share.”
The draft rating list for England and Wales is due to be published at the end of September, which will publish the draft rateable values for business properties. The last revaluation took place in 2010.
Under plans announced by former Chancellor George Osborne last year, local authorities are set to retain 100% of business rates income, with directly elected metro mayors able to add a supplement to rates in an area to fund infrastructure projects. ACS has raised concerns that local authorities are not using the powers they already have to reduce business rates effectively on high streets.