Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Assembly Minister announces a new Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) Scheme for Wales

18th December 2017

Assembly Minister announces a new Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) Scheme for Wales Following a consultation on a new SBRR scheme for Wales from 2018/19 onwards this autumn, Minister Mark Drakeford has just announced brief details of the new scheme.

Our initial review of the new proposals is detailed below. However, until more details emerge of certain aspects of the new scheme and its reliefs, it is difficult to make a detailed assessment of the proposals. This review looks at the positives and negatives of the new scheme.

We are disappointed that the SBRR support levels have not been increased to those in operation in England and Wales. We regret that our proposals to see empty Grade 2 listed commercial premises have their eligibility to long term rate relief removed and to limit the level of support for business rate relief for national charities, have not been included in the proposals. Also, that the special relief for retailers with rateable values between £10,501 and £11,000 has not been continued.

We are pleased that the High Street Rate Relief Scheme will be continued for 2018/19, but at only half the level of financial support of 2017/18. We welcome some support for new businesses, which is yet to be defined. We agree with new legislation that national companies with multiple small premises should not be eligible for SBRR.

We welcome £1.3 million for local authorities to provide targeted support. However, with only approximately 4% of the businesses with Non-Domestic Rateable premises in Wales, the amount coming to Monmouthshire will be small.

We are pleased that there was a good level of response from key stakeholders to the consultation and that three of the Chambers of Trade and Commerce we engaged with during the consultation period, submitted comments.

In the statement it implies that legislation will be put in place in December 2017, but we note that the Welsh Government went into recess on 18th December until 8th January 2018. It is possible that some civil servants will work over the Christmas period, but likely progress in December would seem to be limited.

The Chamber has worked very closely with Monmouthshire County Council on the business rates issue since the September 2016 VOA revaluation and we have contacted them for their initial response to the new SBRR scheme.

R D Cummings
David Cummings FIAB.
Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce.


A New Small Business Rates Relief Scheme for Wales

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced that a permanent Small Business Rates Relief scheme (SBRR) will be introduced from 1 April 2018.The scheme will provide additional support for the childcare sector, increasing the upper threshold for rates relief for childcare providers from £12,000 to £20,500.  The scheme will continue to be developed to ensure it best meets the needs of Wales and, during 2018-19, the Welsh Government will additional relief for certain businesses, including:

  • £5m of support to continue the temporary High Street Rates Relief scheme into 2018-19.

  • An additional £1.3m funding to local authorities, for them to use their discretionary powers to provide targeted relief to support local businesses which would benefit most from additional assistance.

  • Targeted support for small hydropower projects.

A key aspect of the new scheme is the number of properties eligible for small business rates relief will be limited to two properties per business in each local authority.  This means big businesses won’t benefit disproportionately from the scheme and rates relief will be targeted more effectively to support local businesses.  This releases approximately £7m which is being reinvested in other areas of relief.  The Welsh Government’s intention is to take a progressive, fair and transparent approach towards local taxation in Wales which continues to provide vital funding for local services.  Delivering a permanent rates relief scheme for small businesses is a key step in delivering this.

Cabinet Written Statement

MDCTC Response to delivering a tax cut for small businesses

To download the FULL version please click here

New consultation on Small Business Rate Relief 2018-19 onwards

David Cummings, Chairman of Monmouth and District Chamber of Commerce (MDCTC) commented:

"The consultation document (see below) from the Welsh Government on a new scheme for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) was issued on 21st July 2017 with a twelve week consultation period. MDCTC will continue to work closely with Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) during the consultation process to come up with an appropriate response and a meeting is being planned for early September with the other business organisations in Monmouthshire to discuss the document . MDCTC and MCC will be comparing the suggestions made in the consultation document with the current SBRR systems in operation in England and Scotland. MDCTC is also in touch with business organisations in Brecon, Conwy, Cowbridge, Fishguard and Lampeter so that a pan Wales balanced view can be made on this new permanent system for SBRR for 2018/19 onwards, but one that includes the special issues affecting the businesses of Monmouth. In a letter to me of 11th July from Minister Mark Drakeford on the consultation, he indicated that although the new SBRR system would be permanent, the Welsh Government intends to keep the support they provide under review so they can be responsive to changing business needs."

Please click here to open/download the consultation document.

High Street Rates Relief Scheme

23rd March 2017

David Cummings, Chairman

The following document from the Welsh Government goes into more detail (than MCC covering letter document) on which businesses are eligible and which are not, for the Targeted High Street Rates Relief Scheme, which they refer to with the letters HSRR.

There is an example on page 9 of HSRR for Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies.

Please read page 10 carefully and only fill in the declaration and return it, if you do not want to receive HSRR.

To download the FULL version please click here

Business Rates Revaluation

17th March 2017.

David Cummings Chairman of Monmouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce commented:

Retailers will remember how hard the Chamber and other organisations fought for more money for relief for those affected by large hikes in business rates as a result of the business rateable value revaluation, details of which came out in October 2016. On 17th December the Welsh Government announced a new Targeted High Street Rate Relief Scheme (THSRRS). On 14th March MCC Finance Department finally received enough information on  THSRRS to define how it would be applied. Possibly as a result of my insistence,  there will be a covering letter with every business rate demand going out in the next week or so explaining, not only THSRRS,  but also transitional relief and how it will be applied. It is evident that some county councils have sent out rate demands without explaining what THSRRS is and how it will be applied.

The covering letter explains what THSRRS is and is after this introduction. It is important to stress for Tier 1 relief only that relief will be paid to businesses who have seen an increase in their business rates, where they will expect to pay the same, or even where there has been a fall. It is expected that MCC Finance Department will be able to make adjustment for the THSRRS mid-summer,  so for those paying rates on Direct Debit the payment can be adjusted. I am pleased to inform you that MCC have decided to take a fairly loose interpretation to the words “High Street” in THSRRS and apply the benefits to all retail premises in towns in the county. They estimate that about 400 out of 3167 businesses with rateable premises will qualify. There are terms and conditions imposed by WG so out of town, empty properties, doctors, dentists, hotels and self-catering will not be eligible for THSRRS. Pubs will be eligible.

I believe that at this point we should give thanks that not only the Chamber,  but MCC have done such a great job in fighting the cause and on keeping businesses informed. It is evident that no other county council has done half as much. We fully support the points raised in Bob Greenland’s letter to Mark Drakeford -see next item on this web page.

Business Rates Revaluation 1

Business Rates Revaluation 2

Mark Drakeford AM - Recent Revaluation of Business Rates

Mark Drakeford AM Recent Revaluation of Business Rates Page 1

Mark Drakeford AM Recent Revaluation of Business Rates Page 2