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Business rates consultation is opportunity for small businesses to have their say

Business rates bills have been an important issue for small businesses in South Wales this year. The delayed rates re-valuation saw a significant change in rates bills for some businesses, with some bills showing a steep increase.

Earlier this year, Welsh Government announced an extension to the business rates relief scheme which was targeted at high street businesses. FSB welcomed this news and wrote to every local authority in Wales asking them to clarify how they would implement the relief and to communicate this as quickly and effectively to businesses as possible. Some local authorities have been very responsive with their plans to support small businesses, whilst others have failed to be so forthcoming.

Despite welcoming the rates relief scheme, FSB Wales has met with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford, to open up a conversation about how the business rates system as a whole needs to be overhauled. The business rates system is no longer fit for purpose in the long term, and following the UK Government budget which announced an overarching review of the scheme, we have asked Welsh Government to follow suit and look at how we can make business rates more effective for Welsh Government, local authorities, and most importantly for small businesses.

The Welsh Government has now published a consultation on business rates, calling for contributions by the 13th October. FSB Wales is urging all members affected by business rates to engage with the consultation and to tell the Welsh Government what they think that the future of business rates needs to look like. As Wales’ biggest business organisation, we will be submitting a response from FSB to the consultation in order to ensure that the voice of small business is heard loud and clear, but Welsh Government needs to hear from businesses directly, too.

Neil Blockley, South Wales Development Manager, said: “The business rates consultation gives South Wales businesses the opportunity to give their thoughts on the business rates system, and how it can be more effective.

“One thing businesses need is certainty, and the business rates system plays an important role in this. Businesses want to be able to plan in the long-term which is why it’s important for the Welsh Government to hear from businesses across South Wales as they plan for the future of the system.”

Businesses can submit their views to the consultation here: