Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon Siân Gwenllian has called on the Welsh Labour Government to undertake a comprehensive, Wales-wide review of business rates, as concerns remain about how rates are determined and the extent of relief available for small to medium sized businesses.
Her calls come as she prepares to hand a petition to the Welsh Government, organised by Caernarfon businessmen Endaf Cooke and Gavin Owen and backed by local businesses across the constituency, calling for the issue to be debated in the Assembly.
It follows on from an announcement earlier this year from the Welsh Government that businesses with a rateable value of £9,100 or less will pay no business rates, but concerns remain that some small to medium sized businesses remain at a disadvantage under current arrangements.
The petition calls on the Welsh Government to extend rate relief further to a threshold of £10,000 and introduce a tapered system up to £20,000.
Siân Gwenllian AM said,
‘Whilst I welcome steps taken by the Welsh Government to reduce the business rate burden on small businesses, the message I’m getting from businesses in my constituency is that further work is needed to reform the system that determines business rates.’
‘Small businesses in Caernarfon, Bangor and across Arfon and on high streets across Wales deserve our full support. Despite movement from Welsh Government, there remains too much red tape and inconsistencies.’
‘Business rates form a greater proportion of operating costs for small businesses than they do for large firms; indeed for many SME’s in my constituency they are a real burden on profitability and viability.’
‘We are working in partnership with the business community in Caernarfon and beyond to put renewed pressure on the Labour government in Cardiff to do more to support our high streets and the small business community in Wales.’
‘This petition is indicative of the strength of feeling locally that more should be done to help small businesses. That is why I am calling for a comprehensive review of the whole system to make business rates work more effectively for the Welsh economy.’
‘Reducing the burden of business rates would free up cash flow enabling small businesses to expand, invest and create employment, and that is what our high streets demand.’