FSB Wales calls on Welsh Government to extend 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure firms.

FSB Wales warns of the dangers facing Welsh firms in coming weeks

  • Wales’ biggest business organisation calls for Welsh Government to extend 100% business rates relief

In the coming weeks, businesses in Wales face a number of challenges that could be breaking point for some.

On the 1st April businesses will liable for business rates payments that were suspended for most of the last year, which comes at the same time as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will come to an end. This represents two significant business costs which businesses have not had to meet whilst they have been under the strictest restrictions and unable to earn money.

In addition to this, those firms who took out Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILs) or Bounce Back Loans at the beginning of the UK-wide lockdown in the spring of 2020 will also find that those repayments are due to start shortly. The Chancellor announced the ‘Pay as you Grow’ scheme over the weekend which should, hopefully, provide flexibility for some of those who will be making repayments.

The moratorium on evictions from commercial premises also stops at the end of March, and FSB Wales has called on Welsh Government to continue this further in order to provide certainty and security to businesses.

To ease this burden, FSB Wales is today calling on the First Minister to extend the 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure firms for another 12 months in order to give firms a better chance at survival.

Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:

“The First Minister has not yet given any indication as to when businesses would be likely to reopen, which has resulted in many firms feeling an acute level of anxiety about how they will manage to meet the financial obligations that are around the corner.

“Welsh Government must take swift action to remove the cliff edge that many firms feel that they are facing and provide reassurance to those businesses. We must remember that for Wales to have a strong economic recovery from Coronavirus we will need these same businesses to be a part of it.

“We reiterate our call to the First Minister to provide some indications to businesses of the route map out of lockdown so that they can plan and make the decisions they need to in order to survive.

“We are approaching a critical milestone for thousands of businesses in Wales, and if this period is not managed properly many firms may find themselves unable to keep afloat during this particularly difficult phase of the pandemic.”

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