The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the announcement of a permanent small business rate relief scheme and the extension of extra support for high street retailers in Wales.
However, it has raised concerns about the limits being imposed on the type of business that will be eligible for relief under the new system.
The permanent small business rates relief scheme to be introduced from 1 April 2018 will provide 100% relief for sites with a rateable value of £6,000 or less, and then tapered relief for sites with a rateable value of between £6,000 and £12,000. But the Welsh Government has stated that relief will only be available to two sites per business in each local authority.
The rate relief scheme will also provide £5m to extend the high streets rate relief scheme into 2018-19, as well as an extra £1.3m for local authorities to use as discretionary relief for supporting local businesses in their area.
The Welsh Government provides two tiers of high street rate relief, of up to £500 (Tier 1) or up to £1,500 (Tier 2), to eligible high street retailers occupying premises with a rateable value of £50,000 or less.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the extra support for small businesses that will be available through the Welsh business rates relief scheme, but have concerns about the limit being imposed on the number of properties in each local authority area that are eligible for relief.
“Many retailers that run three or four stores in a local authority area are still small businesses and subject to the same cost pressures that single site operators face.”
The finance secretary also announced an extra £9m and £22m will be allocated in the Budget in 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively to account for the switch from RPI to CPI for business rates from April 2018.