Welsh business owner says she will lose £15k due to new changes in business rate relief

  • Video report by Cost of Living Correspondent Carole Green

A Welsh business owner says she "will lose £15,000" due to changes in business rate relief.

Businesses in Wales have given a cold response to the cut in rate relief which dropped from 75% to 40% in Wales from the start of April 2024.

Lauren Evans, managing director and co-owner of Fablas Ice Cream, said: "The difference in the business rate relief for Fablas alone would be approximately £15,000 across the four stores around our production unit.

"That is massive. That's a part-time member of staff's wages in an economic climate where we know jobs are scarce."

Lauren, who oversees branches in Penarth, Cowbridge, Porthcawl and Caerphilly, claims Welsh businesses are being "unfairly targeted" when the relief in England is remaining at 75%.

She added: "It really is tough, and you are just thinking what exactly are you gaining from being a business owner? It is a massive strain on you mentally and on the business."

Business owner Jenny Williams said: "We've got to try a bit harder to bring people to us." Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Meanwhile, in Denbighshire, one accommodation provider says she is struggling to hit the Welsh Government's 182-day rule for self-catering holiday lets to be able to pay business rates rather than domestic rates.

The criteria says holiday lets must be filled for 182 days a year – up from a previous 70 - in order to qualify for business rates.

Jenny Williams, owner of the The Laundry Retreat, said the business is reaching the 182-day mark by the skin of its teeth.

She said: "I think because it is in a rolling basis as well, you're pressured into making sure you're going throughout the winter months too, so we are having to come up with ways of bringing people in which means giving offers and that's where we're losing money instead of making it.

"North-east Wales is not a honey pot destination where we are here. We are not in a very busy striving place, a destination where everyone is drawn to. So, we've got to try a bit harder to bring people to us."

But with costs rising for businesses, Welsh Government budgets are not going as far either.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We are very aware that the ongoing cost-of-living and cost-of-doing-business crises continue to present difficulties for small and independent businesses in all sectors across the country.

"We are doing all we can, with the resources and powers available to us, to provide support in these difficult times.

"We provide a range of permanent non-domestic rates reliefs, worth £250m annually and fully funded by the Welsh Government. This includes Small Business Rates Relief, which supports ratepayers for around 70,000 properties across Wales, of which over 50,000 receive full relief.

"We are also providing a fifth successive year of support for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with their rates bills, at a cost of £78m. This builds on the almost £1bn of support provided in rates relief schemes to these sectors since 2020-21."

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