Thanks to the Welsh Labour Government, shops and small businesses in Penarth recveive far less business-rate relief than do similar enterprises in  England -.

On the weekend of “Small Business Saturday” (tomorrow) the Welsh Labour Government’s left-wing Corbyn-supporting Finance Minister Mark Drakeford is being urged to provide improved  support for small businesses in Wales.

In Wales only small businesses with a rateable value of less than £6,000 are eligible to receive 100% rate relief.

Welsh shops and businesses with rateable values of between £6,000 and £12,000 receive rate-relief on a “tapered basis”  – and at the top end, receive no rate relief at all. That’s in marked contrast with the position in England.

In England , the UK Conservative Government has slashed business rates by 33% for a period of 2 years for retailers which have rateable values of under £51,000. That means that 90% of shops in England are have had what amounts to a cut in their rates of £8,000 a year – in addition to having had a string of rate reductions in previous years.

Justin Horton runs the popular children’s clothing shop “Funky Monkey” in Penarth town centre

Well-known Penarth retailer Justin Horton has taken up the cudgels for Welsh small businesses and has asked the Vale of Glamorgan Council – (which collects business rates and hands them on to the Welsh Labour Government)  –  whether small shops in Wales will be getting the same kind of rate-relief as their opposite numbers in England.

This month Mr Horton emailed the Vale Council asking “Could you advise on the current situation regarding business rates relief please? Do you know if the Welsh Government will follow the UK Government’s business rate cut of a third for small retailers with a rateable value of £51,000 or less?”

The Vale Council  replied that it had heard nothing from the Welsh Labour Government about bringing-in any similar cuts in Wales –  and suggested Mr Horton should lobby his “Welsh Government representative on this matter”.” 

Andrew R T Davies is a Conservative Assembly Member for South Wales Central – which includes Penarth

Now however, Penarth AM Andrew RT Davies (Conservative South Wales Central), has stepped in – to demand that the Welsh Labour Government increases its support for Welsh small businesses.

Welsh Labour Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford. He was originally just a probation officer and is being accused of “inertia”

Mr Davies  has called  Welsh Labour Government “finance secretary”  Mark Drakeford (a man who’s never run a business in his life)  to “ensure  the consequential funding which is received under the Barnett Formula is invested wisely to support Welsh firms.”

Davies has reminded Drakeford that the Conservatives have ” long called for business-rates to be scrapped for small businesses.”

He goes on to tell the minister ” As the Conservatives deliver increased support for shops and firms in England, the lifeblood of our economy in Wales is being held back thanks to the inertia of the Labour administration in Cardiff Bay.

Mr Davies adds “The current business rates structure in Wales is preventing many firms from reaching their full potential and that’s clearly unacceptable. Before moving on to pastures new, Labour’s Finance Secretary should take note of this deficit in support, and ensure Welsh businesses have the assistance they both deserve and require.”

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Penarth Daily News email address newsnet@sky.com. Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. Philip Rapier says:

    The cost of High Street rates could possibly account for one of the greatest mysteries in Welsh Politics –the needle in a haystack (literally) farmyard location of Andrew RT Davies Constituency Office.

    Wales online reported as below on 26 June 18 the findings of a Freedom of Information Request made by a member of the very same Welsh Conservative Party he serves..
    “There aren’t many politicians who locate their constituency office in a wooden cabin 50 yards beyond a vehicle security barrier on a rural farm estate.
    Mostly they want to demonstrate they are accessible to voters by having a town centre presence, invariably displaying their name on a wall or window in giant letters. ”

    ( Now former) —“Welsh Conservative Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies is an exception.
    Finding the office from which he serves more than half a million people in the South Wales Central region he represents as an AM is not easy. ”

    Despite occupying the cabin for 18 months, according to the manager of the farm estate on which it is situated, Mr Davies’ website makes no reference to it.

    “The fact that it exists was, however, disclosed to a member of Mr Davies’ own party who submitted a freedom of information request to the Assembly Commission, which funds AMs’ offices out of the public purse. The Commission’s response said Mr Davies’ office was located at Penllyn Estate, Llwynhelig, Cowbridge CF71 7FF.
    This is, by all accounts a 1,200-acre mixed farm operation run by Vale farmer and businessman Johnny Homfray.”

    On checking the Website today the Registered address for Electoral Law purposes appears to confirm the position remains the same.
    From the website
    ” Promoted by George Carroll on behalf of Andrew RT Davies, both of Penllyn Estate, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7FF. “

    • RetailGuru says:

      Philip, what on earth does your comment have to do with the fact that Welsh small businesses are paying significantly higher rates than their competitors in England?

    • Small Trader Plassey says:

      You seem to have R T Davies on the Brain. Are you all right in the head sir?
      We could all club together and get you the treatment you need.

  2. Christopher David says:

    Business rates for small businesses have long been a problem. High streets are struggling. It would also help if charity shops with their free labour paid proper rates as well. Spread the burden out. Don’t be fooled- high street charities business and big business at that.

    • Jed says:

      Charity shops, poundshops and scamazon are all truly horrible – for the high street and for Britain. We need to make local and buy local, for the environment but also to keep jobs. Do you think if Amazon kills opposition off it will keep prices ‘low’?

  3. Peter Church says:

    Everyone with a large enough Accounting division seems to be coming up with ways to not pay Business rates.
    Have you wondered why B&Q, Wickes, Travis Perkins are closing stores?
    They were large retail premises charged full business rates on the entire shop floor area.
    Instead B&Q who own Screwfix only pays the retail rate on the small show room section. The larger warehouse is charged a lower industrial rate.
    Similarly with Toolstation who are owned by Travis Perkins.
    Amazon do the same thing but this time without even a retail element.
    This is before they offset profits against capital depreciation of stores they are closing and charge themselves intellectual property from a subsidiary located in Luxembourg

    Bingo, low rates and no tax!
    Small independents have not got a chance.

    • Peter, thanks for your comment.

      Independent businesses are so important to a town – they are what make places different and not ‘just another high street’ of empty shops and same-old shops.

      We’re just asking the Welsh Government for a level playing field (please note – this isn’t party political, just a question of fair play) – we’re in a hugely competitive market and feel aggrieved that shops based in England, shops that get rates concessions, and big businesses with clever accountants aren’t charged business rates on the same basis as the small independent businesses.

      The whole business rates regime needs a complete overhaul – it’s just not fit for purpose any more. Retail (including online) has seen a seismic change within the last decade and there needs to be a round-table discussion about how we reflect this change for the future.

      The current system is unsustainable and will close small businesses unless changes are made.

  4. Small Trader Plassey says:

    Time seems to have stopped in Wales in 1997 when devolution started. Many Westminister business initiatives have passed us by in Wales.
    Instead the Welsh Assembly concentrates their minds on dog whistle attention seeking ideas, like dog collar, organ donation, Welsh translations rights, letting 16yr olds vote, increasing the number of AMs.
    When they are not coming up with these stupid ideas they are bickering among themselves.
    Please use they money you are given by the UK Government from our taxes for the purpose it was collected.

    • Tim says:

      Totally agree. The WAG has no business acumen at all and therefore concentrate on their social attention seeking ideas which are more often than not caused by poverty due to a lack of well paid jobs / poverty due to their… Lack of business acumen. Simple cause and effect.

    • Christopher David says:

      Generally I agree- stupid PC vanity “initiatives” costing millions. The WG should concentrate on Health, Education, The Economy and Business, Infrastructure and the environment. I.E. core issues. One caveat- Organ Donation albeit they watered down presumed opt in to a worrying degree is one of the few things they’ve done that’s really positive- and comes under they key heading of Health. On that note Gething refused to be interviewed by BBC wales again this weekend. He’s a very worrying candidate for FM, or head councillor as it is really. But then the three of then are!

  5. John Reece says:

    I was in London for the last few days and people really seem to have a get up and go attitude. The place was booming, bars full, everywhere there was construction work taking place, a real buzz.
    Here in Wales we also seem to also have a get up and go attitude, except its get up and go to London!

    • Birkett says:

      London is swimming in money, that’s the difference. Though I agree, it’s striking to see when visiting; pavements and parks in good order, interesting shops and bars busy, entertainment a-plenty.
      Money talks.

    • Lord of the Bay says:

      I recently moved in the opposite direction after 20 years of living just outside London, and so far I have found the quality of life in Wales to be better in every respect. I think the Welsh people have plenty of entrepreneurial spirit, despite the best efforts of the socialists in the WG to crush it. Those London bars may be buzzing, but oh the prices… !

  6. Jed says:

    The high stre t isn’t asking for help, or charity, just a level playing field. When one footballer is now paying more income tax than amazon and Facebook in the. UK combined … you know tbere’s a problem. In Wales it’s worse because the Assembky chose to dump the tax burden onto small business – lower qualifying threshold, higher rate and now this delay in passing on the little bit of help given by the Westminster.

    Meantime we can alll help by using our local high streets!

    • Penarthur says:

      Which footballer is that, out of interest, or did you just make it up?

    • Frank Evans says:

      Just wait until April when the Assembly has tax varying powers. No guess which way they will go.

      • Christopher David says:

        Indeed- as you may know the tax threshold for basic rate tax payers has gone from (memory) £11,800 PA to £12,500 in England. My accountant advises me that Wales wont necessarily follow! Anyone know definitively? A bit off piste but may be on interest to some here.

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