In his Autumn Budget statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced £900m in business rates relief for high street retail properties in England with a rateable value below £51,000, for two years from April 2019. This could benefit up to 90% of retail properties, which will see their RV cut by a third, subject to State Aid limits.
Andrew West, Rating Director comments, "I doubt very much that a similar relief will be applied by the Welsh Government as this would disproportionately impact Welsh rate revenue following the devolution of business rates to Wales from April 2015. This will leave high street retail businesses in Wales with an RV of between £6,000 and £51,000 paying far more in business rates than their counterparts in England.
"Moreover, the announcement on business rates relief for England does not help larger retailers struggling against online competition. Their departure from the high street reduces footfall which in turn impacts the smaller retailers. We would have liked the Chancellor to have extended the relief to larger retailers, thereby helping increase occupancy levels and the vitality of town centres.
"The budget produced nothing meaningful or radical other than more relief measures. We already have so many reliefs and exemptions that the system has become overcomplex. Systemic reform is overdue, but the opportunity has been kicked into the long grass."