COVID-19: Finch-Saunders Fury at Welsh Government Business Support U-TURN

The Welsh Government’s decision to U-turn on business rate relief for enterprises negatively affected by COVID-19 has been met with fury by Janet Finch-Saunders, Assembly Member for Aberconwy, and Chairman of the Cross-Party Group on Small Shops.

Yesterday (24/03/2020), Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy, Transport, and North Wales, and Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd issued this written statement which included the following point:

“the Welsh Government has decided to make one adjustment to the Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) Relief for the hospitality, retail and leisure sector announced last week: to not extend the 100% relief to the small proportion of properties with a rateable value of £500,000 and above”.

Responding to the statement, Janet said:

“On 19 March 2020, the Welsh Government made a clear commitment to provide retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a 12-month business rates holiday.

“The U-turn to exclude businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 and above will result in around 200 properties having to pay business rates, despite their probable closure as a result of the current national crisis.

“I am disappointed that the Welsh Government has released this vital financial safety belt for big retail, leisure, and hospitality businesses, as the economic situation continues to worsen due to COVID-19. 

“As I know from supporting businesses with rateable value appeals; a high rateable value does not necessarily mean that a business is making significant profit. In many cases, the high rate makes the pressure on monthly outgoings worse.

“Once again we are seeing the Welsh Government put Welsh businesses at a disadvantage to England, where the UK Government has committed to a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses.

“I would ask the Ministers responsible to review this decision and consider providing business rate relief to all businesses in Wales during this crisis”. 

ENDS

Notes to Editor: