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WRITTEN STATEMENT BY THE

WELSH ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT

Title: NDR Revaluation – Enhancement of Rate Relief Thresholds

Date: 22 December 2009

By: Carl Sargeant, Minister for Social Justice and Local


Government

The non domestic property re-valuation takes place every five years in
England and Wales. Revaluation is not a tax raising measure - it simply
redistributes the rates payable between properties based on their relative
values at the time of the revaluation. Consequently, some rates bills will rise
and some will fall, but the average national bill will only change roughly with in
line with any increase or decrease in the September 2009 retail price index.

Over 60% of ratepayers will benefit from the revaluation and will see a
reduction in their bills because we have provisionally reduced the multiplier for
2010-2011 from 0.489 to 0.409.

I therefore propose to amend The Non-Domestic Rating (Small Business


Relief) (Wales) Order 2008 so that the main relief thresholds will be increased
by at least 20% so that that funding for small business rates relief is at least
maintained at current levels. At least half of all business premises in Wales
could potentially qualify for this relief, and many others will qualify for other
reliefs such as those occupied by charities or unoccupied properties.

Consequently, most businesses whose rateable values have increased in line


with the national average, and many whose values have increased by more
than this will not fall out of the relief thresholds. The rateable value thresholds
for relief will be increased as follows

• £2,000 to £2,400 for the general 50% relief

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• £6,500 to £7,800 for the general 25% relief

• £9,000 to £11,000 for the 25% retail relief.

In deciding on this course of action I have considered representations from


business representatives, including the Federation of Small Businesses and
the Wales Tourism Alliance. They have indicated that their main priority is the
uprating of the small business rates relief thresholds, and that there is little
enthusiasm for a transitional relief scheme based on the English model which
would effectively take money away from those businesses who are suffering
the worst during the recession to cap increases for businesses that have been
more successful.

The Assembly Government gave careful consideration to additional forms of


assistance, including targeted measures to help small and medium sized
businesses whose rateable values have increased by significantly more than
the average, but due to the current difficult financial situation was unable to
provide any additional funding for a viable scheme within the budget that was
passed by the Assembly on 8 December 2009.

I am aware that in certain local hotspots clusters of valuations have increased


by significantly more than average, but this reflects local rental values, which
form the basis of non domestic rating valuations. I am also aware that some
sectors of the tourism sector have had above average increases, particularly
the self catering sector, However, this sector will benefit greatly from the
raising of the relief thresholds, with more over 95% of these properties falling
within the revised rates thresholds, and more than half of these properties
potentially qualifying for 50% relief, and therefore paying less than £41 per
month. Over 90% of guest and boarding houses will also fall within the
revised thresholds.

The Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (Wales) Regulations 2008


will also be amended to raise the rateable value threshold at which empty
properties are excluded from liability for non-domestic rates from to £18,000
from 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011. This will apply to Wales the temporary
increase to the threshold announced by the Chancellor in respect of England
in the pre – budget report on 9 December 2009, and will be funded by the UK
Government.

This statement has been issued during the recess as businesses seek clarity
as to their non domestic rates liabilities for next year at the earliest
opportunity, and a decision on the measures could not be taken until the
completion of discussions on the budget.