Business Improvement Districts in Wales today urge the Welsh Government to adopt the cut in business rates announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in last Monday’s Budget.
Philip Hammond announced a one-third cut in business rates for smaller retail firms to boost the high street.
Business rates are a devolved matter and it will be for the Welsh Government to decide whether the discount to be applied in England will also be offered to businesses in Wales with a rateable value of £51,000 and under.
In last Monday’s Budget, Mr Hammond estimated the two-year discount, which comes into force in England next April, could save small retail businesses £900 million.
Today Welsh BIDs are calling on the Welsh Government to adopt the cut at the same level and at the same time as England.
There are currently 12 BIDs operating in Wales, and the Welsh Government recently approved funding to explore the feasibility of establishing a further 10.
A spokesman for Welsh BIDs said: “The Chancellor’s cut while having no effect on the large chains facing trading difficulties, has the potential to be a lifeline for many smaller retailers – particularly independents who make up the majority of BID memberships.
“It is vital the Welsh Government adopts the measures announced by the Chancellor on Monday and implements the rate cut in full next April.
“Anything less will put the smaller retailer in Wales at a huge disadvantage compared to their competitors and counterparts in England.
“High streets across Wales are facing incredibly difficult times and we urge the Welsh Government to take this opportunity to ease the cost pressures on smaller retailers.
“We are also calling on the Welsh Government to look at establishing a similar Future High Street Fund, as proposed in the Budget, for Welsh retailers. This would signal the Welsh Government’s longer-term support for Welsh high streets and the vital role they play in our towns and cities.”