The WRU has recently announced a 13% increase in funding to community rugby and a 19 increase to the semi-professional game, enabled in part by these savings. It comes at a time when a much anticipated, state of the art Desso replacement pitch is being installed and the WRU and the Regions have signed a six-year Rugby Services Agreement which will help retain Wales' star players.
Stadium Manager Mark Williams said, "The savings we have achieved through this exercise has helped us strengthen our investment to the game of rugby at all levels in Wales. We have a tremendously strong relationship with the capital city and we are committed to recognising our responsibility through fair and equitable contributions to the rating process. Cooke & Arkwright have helped us achieve a level of contribution which accurately reflects the impact of the stadium on the resources of the city and we are extremely grateful for their help. This readjustment of our outgoings gives us even more stability and confidence in our ability to ensure the Millennium Stadium flourishes as an icon of Welsh life."
Andrew West, Director of Rating at Cooke & Arkwright, a member of the RICS National Rating and Local Taxation Policy Panel which advises both Westminster and Welsh Governments, represented Millennium Stadium plc in challenging both the 2005 and 2010 assessments. He has been providing rating advice to the stadium since its completion in 1999.
"We made proposals challenging both assessments. There has been a change of approach to assessing RV for stadia in recent years. We now take an accounts-based approach to receipts and expenditure, which divorces the principal user from the stadium company. We therefore needed to establish a value based on what would represent an affordable rent if the Millennium Stadium was available to let, in relation to its actual trading history, and how you would generated income as a hypothetical stadium operator. A very detailed and complex analysis of accounts was conducted to establish the correct RV. Crucially, the agreed valuations reflect the ability of the hypothetical occupier to pay a rent, excluding the WRU's income from staging rugby matches."
Both assessments were successfully appealed, resulting in overall savings of around £1.5m on the 2005 RV and savings of almost £2m on the 2010 RV (the 2010 list runs from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2017).
Mr West is a chartered Surveyor and is also a spokesman for the RICS Wales Rating Group, giving evidence to the Welsh Government Business Rates Task & Finish Group. He is a member of the Ratepayers Forum for Wales which includes representatives of the Welsh Government and VOA, and is an Honours Member of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation.