FSB responds to the news of an extension to the Business Rates holiday in Wales.
Commenting on the news today that Welsh Government are to extend the Business Rates holiday in Wales next year with a reduction of 50% off rate bills for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, Ben Francis, Policy Chair at FSB Wales stated:
“While it’s welcome that Welsh Government has acknowledged FSB concerns about the need to continue to support businesses through the Business Rates system, it seems clear from the gathering economic clouds and the significant problems already being experienced by business in hospitality and retail, as well as other sectors, that today’s announcement may not be enough.
The current situation is now moving fast with concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant now growing and many businesses across Wales are already seeing significant impact as a result of that. For others, confidence is ebbing away with uncertainty as to what sectors of the economy might yet face restrictions or be impacted by other factors such as staff absence or supply chain disruption. We know too that impacts will go far beyond any directly-restricted sectors into those businesses within the supply chain for example.
We would strongly urge Welsh Government to consider going further in increasing the proportion of relief available, maintaining it at the existing 100% level as part of a package of measures to support smaller businesses through what is likely to be a very difficult period.
Smaller businesses throughout Wales are already carrying a significant amount of accumulated debt and have been weakened by 20 months of restrictions, constricted markets, skills pressures and increased costs. In coming weeks, Welsh and UK Governments will need to work together to ensure that businesses are sufficiently supported to weather the storm so that they are in the best shape possible to help protect and recover the economy.
This latest development in the impact of Coronavirus on the Welsh economy underscores the fact that recovery is by no means a given. Extending the current Business Rates holiday at its existing level would go some way to alleviating the financial pressure on smaller businesses in the coming year as they meet the threat of any further disruption and we urge Welsh Government to consider going further with that support”.