The Welsh government has promised the country’s small business owners that business rates will remain unchanged until at least 2018.
The current business rates programme in Wales, valued at roughly £98m, is to be extended for 2017 to 2018, as officials consider ways to further improve the system and make it more efficient.
According to an announcement made by local Welsh government secretary Mark Drakeford, a new permanent system will be introduced in 2018.
At present, the system sees Wales-based business premises with a value of under £6,000 receive full business rate relief of 100 per cent, while premises valued between £6,000 and 12,000 receive tapered relief ranging from 100 per cent to zero.
“One of the most effective ways we can deliver tax cuts top small businesses is by making our business rates relief scheme permanent,” said Drakeford.
“We [The Welsh government] knows business rates can represent a high proportion of costs for small firms and that’s why we want to give them the certainty and security that this vital source of support will continue”.
The pledge is likely to be welcomed by small business owners, many of whom may have been concerned about the imminent UK-wide review of the business rates system, planned for April 2017.
First announced by former chancellor George Osborne in 2015, the business rates review is expected to bring in significant changes that could see smaller UK businesses in certain areas lose out.
Last month, a London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) survey revealed that over half of smaller retail owners in the UK capital were concerned about the 2017 business rates review.
Revealing heightened levels of apprehension as well as a distinct lack of understanding about the implications of business rates, 44 per cent of London’s micro owners said they were worried they’d be out of pocket after the review, while 42 per cent said they weren’t sure how revalued business rates would benefit their firm.
Drakeford continued to say that in Wales, changes to the new permanent system would include ways to target the minority of business owners who get away without paying rates on premises. “We’ll be acting on the feedback we’ve received to ensure the small minority who try to avoid paying rates pay their fair share,” he said.
Find out all you need to know about business rates as the owner of a small firm, here.
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