Monmouthshire County Council has expressed concern over today’s Welsh Government announcement of the additional £10m to be made available to support small businesses hit by the proposed business rates rise. Astronomic rises for some businesses are proposed by the revaluation of business rates across the country to take effect from April. This new fund supplements the existing £10m fund that has been running for some time.
Nearly 15,000 shops, restaurants and pubs in Welsh high streets will benefit from the rate relief scheme but Councillor Bob Greenland, Deputy Leader with responsibility for enterprise has questioned what constitutes a high street. In addition, he has questioned whether the new funding will focus on those businesses adversely affected by the recent revaluations.
Councillor Greenland said: “News of the Welsh Government scheme to help those severely affected by the revaluation in business rates is filtering through. Further clarity is needed, but from what we know already it is clear this is not going to bring much help to the many businesses in the county that this revaluation will put in jeopardy. I have asked to meet with business leaders from our towns as soon as possible. By then we should have a clearer picture of the details of the scheme. The council will not stand back and see businesses go to the wall. The diversity of small independent shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants is the lifeblood of our towns.”
The council has already taken action over the massive hikes in business rate revaluations. In December it urged the Welsh Government to postpone its draft proposals and has worked with the local business community and has discussed the matter with senior officials of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) at County Hall.
The new rateable values are based on the rental value of properties at 1st April 2015, reflecting changes in the property market across the country since the last revaluation came into force in 2010 based on 2008 rental values.