Business rates U-turn in Wales

25 March 2020

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One week after announcing that Wales would mirror steps taken in England to give all firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors one year’s break from business rates, the Welsh Government has pulled back from the pledge. The relief will not now apply to businesses with a rateable value of more than £500,000 in Wales.

This applies to a small number of businesses in Wales compared to England, but it does impact some of the country’s largest and best-known employers in the sector.

Andrew West, Business Rates Director with Cooke & Arkwright said, “This is a huge blow to some of our leading hospitality and retail companies which are at the frontline in struggling to survive the Coronavirus crisis. I’ve been talking to the directors of some previously successful and well-known retail and hospitality firms and they are shocked and worried about the sudden change of heart at a time when they’ve had to close their doors and send staff home.

“To compare the hotel sector alone, for example, the UK Government is giving full support to 718 hotels in England, while the Welsh Government now proposes no support for 11 hotels above this threshold in Wales. These are firms that employ many people in Wales and by their nature cannot switch to home working.

“They were told last week that they would receive full rate relief and their crisis contingency planning has been based around that pledge.

“We urge ministers to immediately consider the impact this will have on some of Wales’ biggest employers and their ability to survive this crisis.”

The Leekes Retail and Leisure Group have substantial property assets within the group and have engaged Andrew West to appeal against rating assessments on these properties since 2010. We have consistently been impressed by Andrew's knowledge of the property market and his negotiating skills have been exceptional. Given Andrew's outstanding performance, we would not hesitate to recommend Andrew to any business large or small seeking to appeal their rates liabilities.

Mike Fowler, Group Finance Director, Leekes Group