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FSB welcomes business rate transfer to Wales

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

Police Federation to ballot members on industrial rights

The Police Federation of England and Wales national committee today voted unanimously to hold a ballot of its membership on the question of whether police officers want full industrial rights.

We greatly regret having to ballot our members in relation to the right to take industrial action but they are incredibly angry at this sustained attack on their terms and conditions, their take-home pay and their pensions.

Every other emergency service is allowed to take industrial action and many police forces in Europe can do likewise. If the status of constable as a servant of the crown, and, therefore, the protection afforded to that status, is removed, police officers will understandably seek parity with other employees.

– Steve Trigg, the Chair of the South Wales Police Federation

The Federation’s 135,000 members will be provided with all relevant information and the ballot will be held as soon as possible. In tandem, the Police Federation will explore all the consequences, including the legal position, with regards to police officers obtaining full industrial rights.