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Thousands of Swansea businesses could see rates scrapped

Council's Cabinet set to discuss Welsh Government relief for shops, gyms, cafes and clubs

Thousands of city retailers, pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, gyms and similar businesses in Swansea could see business rates scrapped for this year.

Under a scheme that could be worth up to around £35 million in Swansea, qualifying businesses will see their business rates reduced to nothing for the current financial year.

The Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme is being paid for by the Welsh Government and Swansea Council’s Cabinet is being asked to agree to the plan at its meeting on June 18.

Around 2000 businesses could be in line for rate relief

The report to Cabinet says it’s been estimated that approximately 2,000 business are likely to benefit from the temporary business rates relief school if implemented.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said the proposal would be a vital boost for thousands of qualifying businesses at a time when it’s most needed.

He said:

“It will be welcome news at a time when things could not be more difficult for them. We’re hoping it will contribute to them surviving the worst of the pandemic, protect jobs and services in our communities.

“We’ve told the Welsh Government that the business rates relief scheme will cost an estimated £35m in Swansea and it we will be reimbursed for our costs.”

He added:

“Despite a fantastic effort with more than £46 million already paid out in Swansea to support 3,700 businesses through the separate business support grant launched in April, there are still some who have not been able to access support under the UK and Welsh Government schemes.

“We’re here for the businesses of Swansea and we are continuing to discuss this with Welsh Government and pushing for further help to be provided.”

Automatic relief

If the latest Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme proposal is approved qualifying businesses will not need to contact the council as the rates relief will be automatically applied to accounts.

Those eligible to receive the 100% business rate discounts will be any retail, leisure or hospitality venue with a rateable value between £6,000 and £500,000.

Qualifying businesses would typically be food retailers, pharmacies, post offices, petrol stations, garden centres and markets as well as restaurants, takeaways, cafes, pubs and wine bars.

Tourist attractions, gyms, sports and leisure facilities, cinemas, hotels and nightclubs would also be eligible.

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