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