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01 October 2013

FSB Wales responds to business rates announcement

Reference number: PR011013

FSB Wales has responded to the announcement of two new business rate relief schemes by the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart.

The new schemes provide exemption from rates for some new properties for 18 months and a 50% discount for a year for those bringing long-term empty properties back into use.

Reacting to the statement, Federation of Small Businesses Welsh Policy Unit Chair Janet Jones said: "This announcement reinforces the need for control of business rates to be fully devolved to Wales. In the absence of that full devolution, it is hardly surprising that we see measures like those announced by the Minister today, which are nothing more than a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.

"The business rates system in Wales is outdated, iniquitous and broken, and while the measures announced by Mrs Hart will provide some welcome aid to those starting a new business or engaged in speculative development, they will do nothing to ease the pressure on the majority of hard-pressed businesses on high streets across Wales.

"However, it is essential that local authorities now move swiftly to implement the two new schemes announced by the Minister, as it is vital that every possible help is given to support our high streets."