Kirsty Williams: “Wales’ Closed for Business sign needs to come down”

July 12, 2011 1:40 PM
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have tabled proposals in the National Assembly to freeze business rates, implement radical reform of business rates and reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses.

A Welsh Liberal Democrat motion, to be debated tomorrow, will call for changes to business rates to include:

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"Boosting our economy should be the number one priority of the government but there has been precious little activity in this regard since the election.

"The Welsh Government is guilty of piling layers of additional complexity on Welsh firms that businesses investing the other side of the Severn Bridge will not have to navigate. Wales' Closed for Business sign needs to come down. Business needs to know that those who invest in Wales and create jobs will helped, not hindered.

"Welsh Liberal Democrats are proposing to freeze business rates for a year pending radical reform of business rates that will ensure we stop penalising businesses who invest in their premises, allow local authorities to retain the business rates they collect, end massive increases in business rates and extend business rates to community facilities, post offices and independent retailers."


Notes to editors:

The full text of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Motion is as follows:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Notes that small businesses are essential to the Welsh economic recovery and play a role in local economies across Wales;

2. Calls on the Welsh Government to conduct a full review of business rates in order to:

a) Avoid the scenario whereby the improvement of premises increases their value and therefore their business rate;

b) Change the role local authorities should have in collecting and retaining business rates, to address local needs;

c) End huge rises in business rates when values increase and costs go up between years as has happened to many B&Bs recently;

d) Extend business rate relief to help more community facilities such as post offices, pubs, social enterprises and independent shops;

e) Determine whether Wales would benefit from adopting the same accounting arrangements for business rates as Scotland and Northern Ireland have with the UK Government.

3. Further calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) Freeze business rates until the recommendations of this review are implemented;

b) Set out details on its plans to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses; and

4. Calls on the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science to regularly assess the impact of her policies on small businesses.

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