The Federation of Small Businesses has 'warmly welcomed' the announcement that business rates (or 'non-domestic rates') will be fully devolved to Wales:
The full devolution of powers over non-domestic rates to Cardiff Bay now opens the way for the reform of the current Welsh business rates regime, which is the most onerous for small businesses in any constituent nation of the UK.
There is now no barrier to the Welsh Government reforming the business rates system to support small firms on high streets across Wales. Some work has already been done in this area and we would call for the rapid adoption of the recommendations of Professor Brian Morgan’s report into business rates, particularly his call for rates to be locally retained.
– Iestyn Davies, Federation of Small Businesses Wales
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood is expected to unveil a new policy commitment to cut business rates for small businesses in Wales. In her speech to the party's conference in Aberystwyth she's due to say that a Plaid-led Welsh government would cut rates for firms with a rateable value below £15,000.
She's expected to say:
The Party of Wales’ proposals to cut these rates will improve cash flow for small businesses and will hopefully enable them to not only survive but to grow and prosper, securing or even expanding job numbers.
Supporting small businesses and the thousands of people employed in them is a key priority for Plaid Cymru. We have demonstrated this with our budget deal on apprenticeships which was specifically tailored for small-to-medium sized enterprises.
It is sadly the case that many of our high streets have become ghost towns, characterised by empty and boarded up shops. The business rates policy of the Party of Wales will go a considerable way to breathing new life into our ailing town centres and local economies.