Business rates relief to keep Welsh pubs ‘alive and thriving’

By Alice Leader

- Last updated on GMT

More needed: CAMRA wants the Welsh government to help ease business rates as well
More needed: CAMRA wants the Welsh government to help ease business rates as well

Related tags Business rate relief Pub

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has welcomed the Welsh government’s announcement that it will be extending help for high street businesses but has called for further support to help pubs burdened by business rates.

On 7 January, the Welsh government announced the extension of its high street and retail rates relief scheme for 2020-21, providing support for businesses in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000. 

Backed by £24.2m funding, the Welsh government will provide targeted support to help high street and retail properties with their non-domestic rates bills. 

Finance minister Rebecca Evans AM said: “We will make a £24.2m of support available in 2020-21 through the high street and retail rates relief scheme to support Welsh businesses. 

“It will be fully funded by the Welsh Government and will provide support of up to £2,500 towards the rates bills for retail properties with a rateable value of up to £50,000.” 

Overall, the scheme will provide support to more than 15,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 2020-21.

The burden for pubs

As well as supporting retailers on the high street, the scheme will continue to support businesses in other locations as well.

Ratepayers benefiting from the relief include those with occupied retail premises such as shops, restaurants, cafés, pubs and wine bars.

But CAMRA is calling for further support to set up a scheme specifically to help pubs that are hampered with business rates.

CAMRA wants to see a specific fund to lower bills for pubs, as already operates in England, to help reduce the rate of pub closures.

Open, alive and thriving

CAMRA director for Wales Chris Charters said: “Pubs are at the heart of local communities across Wales. They act as important social hubs – helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation.

“Yet many are suffering from unfair business rates that are contributing to well-loved locals being forced to close.

“While any reduction in costs for businesses under the extended high street and retail relief scheme be welcome, moves like this are only a sticking plaster.

“We need a complete review of the business rates system in Wales to help give pubs a fair deal and save them from closure.

“In the meantime, CAMRA would like to see a permanent scheme put in place by the Welsh government to cut business rates bills for pubs to keep them open, alive and thriving.”

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