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.
Our 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%,” David said.
“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that hospitality businesses already pay more than their fair share of business rates because the current system is out-of-date and punitive for bricks and mortar businesses.
“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.”
Tourism budget cut
The Welsh Government also announced that the budget for culture, sport and tourism activities would be cut by £16 million. This is to fund employability and skills measures.
David said: “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.”