Cabinet will shortly consider a new Business Rate Reduction Scheme, which will help up to 500 Town Centre and retail businesses across the county with additional help towards paying their business rates in 2020/21. 

During November 2019, Cabinet will discuss the latest proposed measure to help local businesses, as part of a wider range of actions to support the High Street – first reported to Members in May 2019. The actions intend to deliver upon the Council’s ongoing commitment to support Town Centre regeneration and encourage investment within the High Street economy.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Council, said: “Cabinet will shortly consider further proactive measures to support our town centres and retail businesses across Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“Later this month, Cabinet will consider a new Business Rate Reduction Scheme as a further support to local businesses – on top of the Welsh Government support which was significantly increased earlier this year.

“The proposed Business Rate Reduction Scheme would provide almost 500 businesses here in Rhondda Cynon Taf with additional rate relief of up to £300. Discretionary relief already provided by the Council is supporting over 1,500 business in the County Borough.

“Improving our Town Centres is a priority for this Council, which has been able to deliver a number of significant improvements to our retail spaces – such as the introduction of reduced parking in Aberdare and Pontypridd, while abolishing charges in Tonypandy, Mountain Ash and Porth to attract more visitors.

“The Town Centre Maintenance Grant – which is providing funding to help traders and landlords improve their property fronts – has approved 129 projects across Porth, Tonypandy, Ferndale, Mountain Ash, Aberdare and Treorchy, through more than £120,000 funding to date.

“We are also in the process of introducing free public-access Wi-Fi across our Town Centres, with Aberdare becoming the first to benefit from this during October 2019.

“All of these measures are intended to help local businesses at a time when shopping trends are changing – with online shopping hitting High Street profits up and down the country.

“Cabinet will discuss the Business Rate Reduction Scheme shortly, and could choose to include it within the Council’s upcoming Budget consultation – before a final decision is made in early 2020 considering the feedback received from residents.”

In April 2019, Welsh Government expanded its High Street and Retail Rates (HSRR) Relief Scheme for 2019/20. The financial support under this scheme was increased to £2,500 – to help all retail occupied properties with a rateable value of £50,000 or less. Around 1,200 business are now benefitting from a combined £1.8m of support through the HSRR, which is a significant increase from 504 businesses collectively receiving £137,000 during 2018/19. 

In order to further support Town Centre businesses in Rhondda Cynon Taf during 2020/21, an Officer report to Cabinet proposes a further discretionary relief is provided – on top of the Welsh Government support. This will see up to £300 received by each qualifying business, using the HSRR criteria. It is estimated that 485 businesses would benefit from this further support.

The report states that, subject to Cabinet’s agreement, the scheme would be included within the Council’s annual Budget consultation taking place this winter. Cabinet Members would then consider whether to grant final approval for the scheme, considering the feedback received during the consultation.

Posted on Thursday 7th November 2019

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