Monmouthshire’s deputy leader and cabinet member for enterprise, Councillor Bob Greenland has written on behalf of the council to the Welsh Government’s Mark Drakeford to urge further support for the county’s independent businesses facing unsustainable increases of up to 585% in rateable value. Some of these ventures will have little or no access to relief of any kind.
Councillor Greenland has identified four main areas of concern:
The Welsh Government scheme he says fails to protect businesses from large increases and is in contrast to rate relief in England where increases have been capped at £50 per month for small businesses and pubs. This has been made possible partly by a graduated annual change from pre-revaluation lists to the new lists.
He also pointed out that money was made available in the recent UK budget to help alleviate the threat to businesses. As a result of that decision, funding to Wales for the relief of businesses threatened by revaluation was made available within a headline figure of £200 million. He enquired if it was the intention of the Welsh Government to use any of that money to help hard-pressed local businesses faced with enormous hikes in rates.
Councillor Greenland also raised the appeal process against revaluation fearing that the lengthy and costly procedure could force businesses out of existence because of cash flow difficulties caused by having to pay increases later found to be unwarranted. He suggested that such businesses should be subject to pre-revaluation rates while appeals are heard.
Finally, Councillor Greenland queried whether revaluation had been assessed in a consistent manner across Wales, given the decrease in rateable values in Cardiff (-3.5%) and an increase in Monmouthshire (+7%).
Councillor Greenland said: “Rates revaluation and its effect on business rates remains a critical issue for our businesses in Monmouthshire. I’m hoping the Welsh Government recognises the damage that will be inflicted on some of them and I seek action to prevent the closure of some iconic local firms.”