ACS welcomes Welsh high street rates relief extension

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Government, which has confirmed an extension to the high street rates relief scheme for 2019-20.

Eligible businesses will receive up to £2,500 off their business rates bills, with properties with a rateable value up to £9,100 paying no rates at all. The Welsh Government estimates that 15,000 retailers in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000 will benefit from the scheme.

The Welsh Government have also announced that local authorities will receive an additional £2.4m to provide discretionary rates relief where it is deemed necessary.

Speaking on the announcement, Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said: “The high street is at the heart of local communities, providing a central hub for people to shop, eat and socialise. The current economic conditions and competition from the internet and out-of-town shopping centres, have hit some high street businesses hard.

“This enhanced high street rate relief scheme for 2019-20 will ensure more ratepayers across Wales receive support to pay their bills and can continue to provide much-needed services to their local communities.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said, “Convenience stores and other small businesses in Wales will welcome this additional rate relief scheme which will help retailers to invest in improving their businesses in the future.

'ACS is part of the Cross Party Group on Small Shops, whose Supporting Entrepreneurship Inquiry highlighted the importance of using the business rates system to incentivise growth and investment.

'We are pleased that the Welsh Government remains committed to this, but urge them to ensure that local authorities make good use of the additional discretionary funds that are being made available to them.

Figures from the 2018 Local Shop Report show that there are 2,923 convenience stores in Wales, with more shops per head in Wales than in any other part of the UK.