Business rates cap 'will not be enough' to save small traders

Published date: 17 January 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A BUSINESS owner has slammed a ‘derisory’ Welsh Government decision on business rates, saying they don’t go far enough.

The Welsh Government announced its decision to cap a rise in business rates for the 2014-15 financial year at two per cent instead of the expected 3.2 per cent increase.

But independent traders have said the move will have little or no impact on their businesses and have called for more to be done to help them survive in the current economic climate.

Andrew Walton, who owns Premier Discount on Shotton High Stree, said: “I don’t think this does anything at all – it is derisory.

“Any percentage rise does us no favours at all.

“Small traders are not going to survive and people won’t invest in Wales because the business rates are so extortionate.

“They might as well say Wales is closed for business.”

Mr Walton revealed that having previously employed six people, he has been running his shop solely with the help of his partner seven-days-a-week for the last two years due, in part, to the high business rates he pays.

He told the Leader he currently forks out £812 each month and added: “Business rates should be scrapped for small end traders.

“What some of us have to pay is ridiculous.”

Welsh local government and government business minister Lesley Griffiths described the decision as good news for Welsh businesses and local authorities when the decision was announced this week.

Previously, the increase was in line with the Retail Price Index measure of inflation to September 2013 which would have meant a rise of 3.2 per cent.

There will also be no impact to local authorities as the funding to allow reduced bills will be provided by the Welsh Government via the Non-Domestic Rates Pool.

Arwel Owen, who owns the Gwinology wine outlet in Mold, said: “This decision is not going to make a massive improvement.

“Every little helps but it’s not going to be a massive change for a local business in Mold.”

Mold town centre manager David Hill, however, said the move was an important step in the right direction and added: “We would support anything that helps to maintain the viability of businesses.

“Trading is tough at the moment for independent businesses. But on initial sight it looks for a positive move.”

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