The Welsh Government has announced that business rates relief will be extended at a lower level of 40% and that rates will rise by 5% next year.
UKHospitality Cymru Executive Director David Chapman said:
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has heard the concerns from UKHospitality Cymru and taken the decision to continue some form of business rates relief.
“UKHospitality campaigned hard for relief to be extended in Westminster, which resulted in additional funds for the Senedd, and it’s clear hospitality has been recognised as a sector in need of support.
“While we appreciate the economic pressures the Welsh Government is under, there will be concern from businesses that relief has been reduced to 40%, from 75%, and that business rates will be increased across the board by 5%.
“It must be remembered that hospitality businesses already pay more than their fair share of business rates because the current system is out-of-date and punitive for bricks and mortar businesses.
“This reduced level of support now leaves businesses in Wales at a competitive disadvantage to businesses in England. Small businesses, in particular, will feel hard done by as their counterparts will see rates frozen across the border. A typical local pub or restaurant in Wales will, for example, be paying £6,400 more than one in England.
“It’s extremely disappointing that at the same time the Government is taking £16 million worth of funding from the tourism budget. This is a strategically important sector in Wales and central to our culture – it needs investment and this sharp reduction in overall budget is worrying.
“At a time of intense economic challenges, this slashing of the tourism budget will do little to inspire long-term confidence in the sector, particularly alongside the looming introduction of a visitor levy and other policies that are impacting hard on the sector.”
Director of CAMRA Wales Chris Charters said:
“Pubgoers will be disappointed to see support for business rates bills for pubs, social clubs and breweries being cut – despite money from the UK Government being made available to keep the discount at 75%.”
“Our locals are at the heart of community life across Wales, bringing communities together, helping to tackle loneliness and providing a safe social space to enjoy a drink with friends and family. They deserve help so they can survive and thrive in the months and years ahead.
“That’s why I am urging the Welsh Government to think again and keep the business rates discount at 75% as it is in England. At a time when customers are tightening their belts and businesses are grappling with rising costs, this help is desperately needed if we are to avoid more pubs, clubs and breweries being lost for good to communities across the country.”