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.
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”.”
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.
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.”