First minister Mark Drakeford has promised to put every penny it receives from Budget announcement into helping firms on rates.
Welsh Government has vowed that every penny of extra funding for Wales that stems from the UK chancellor’s decision to scrap business rates for thousands of English firms will go into supporting companies in Wales.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday announced that the UK Government is scrapping business rates for small venues and shops this year in response to the coronavirus crisis.
In his Budget speech, he said other venues, such as bed and breakfasts, gyms and leisure centres, with a rateable value below £51,000 would pay no business rates.
He said the measure would save each business up to around £21,000.
Business rates are devolved but Wales will now get additional funding through the Barnett Formula.
Welsh Government has been pressed to respond rapidly as businesses are already seeing the economic impact of the virus – particularly the tourism and hospitality sectors as bookings fall and cancellations increase. It comes after an already difficult few weeks with Wales hit by storms and flooding
Now First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said that plans are already underway to invest all of this funding into businesses in the nation.
He claimed delays on exact confirmation of the funding figure was delaying action.
He said: “All funding that comes to Wales as a result of the UK Government’s Budget announcement on non-domestic rates will be used to support Welsh businesses.
“We want to roll-out a support package as quickly as possible to help businesses deal with the impact of coronavirus.
“Plans are underway, but confirmation from the UK Treasury is holding us back.”
They added throughout this Assembly term, each time new money has been made available to extend non-domestic rates support in Wales, the Welsh Government has matched – or exceeded – the funding provided to deliver the “most suitable” support for Welsh businesses.
Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said: “We are pleased to welcome the news that Welsh Government has taken steps to protect the economy and provide a safety net for those businesses facing disruption from coronavirus with money from yesterday’s budget. It is important that businesses in Wales have the same level of support to those over the border.
“Welsh Government has listened to the case made by FSB Wales in our letter to the First Minister earlier today as well as individual businesses across the country, and as with UK Government, has taken positive action to provide reassurance for those businesses facing significant uncertainty in the coming weeks.
“We’ve heard from businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector who are already seeing a slow-down, as well as businesses with supply chains that are feeling the effects. We hope that by ensuring that there is support for these businesses that they can be somewhat protected from what we hope is a very temporary challenge.
“We look forward to more detail as to the level of support and to working with Ministers on this and other measures to support the economy as we move forward.”
The UK Treasury has been asked to comment.
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