ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed the Welsh Government’s approach to fund High Street Relief for retailers who will be adversely affected as a result of the revaluation.
The Welsh Government have stated that the £10m relief scheme to support high street businesses will support almost 15,000 businesses whose rates are set to increase in April. Eligible retailers will receive up to £1,500 off their non-domestic rate bill if they have a rateable value of £50,000 or less in the 2017-18 financial year.
The first tier of relief will apply to high street retailers with a rateable value of between £6,001 and £12,000 who are already receiving either small business rates relief (SBRR) or transitional rates relief. They will receive a reduction in their rates bill of £500 or, if their bill is less than £500, it will be reduced to nil.
The second tier of relief will apply to eligible high street retailers with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £50,000 which are experiencing a rates increase from April 1. These ratepayers will receive a reduction in their rates bill of £1,500
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The relief scheme will offer targeted relief to those likely to be most impacted by the revaluation, giving retailers three years to plan for and adjust ahead of their full increased liability. We commend the Welsh Government for wholly funding this scheme, which has a number of parallels with the Retail Rate Relief scheme that was unfortunately scrapped by the Westminster Government in 2016 for retailers in England.”
There are 3,096 convenience stores in Wales, providing over 25,000 jobs for people in all communities across the country. More than half of the stores operating in Wales are in isolated areas, with no other businesses close by.
Business rates represent the second-largest fixed rate cost for the convenience store sector. An ACS survey from November 2016 showed that 20% of convenience store retailers in Wales will see their business rates increase as a result of the revaluation.