‘Concern’ from Welsh hospitality as rates relief slashed

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

‘Concern’ from Welsh hospitality as business rates relief slashed

Related tags Business rate relief Business rates Government ukhospitality Welsh assembly government Wales

Hospitality businesses in Wales are facing a business rates hike next year after the Welsh Government announced it would reduce the sector’s discount while raising the rate across the board.

Finance minister Rebecca Evans announced this week that business rates relief for the sector will be extended for a further year from 1 April 2024, but will be cut from its current level of 75%, in parity with England, to 40%.

Meanwhile, rates will rise across the board by 5%.

In her speech, Evans said the Welsh Government had had to make ‘some really difficult decisions’ over reprioritising where money is allocated, with health and local councils the only protected areas.

Alongside the cut to rates relief, it was announced that the country’s budget for tourism, culture and sport would lose £16m in funding.

Responding to the Budget, David Chapman, UKHospitality Cymru executive director, said: “I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has heard the concerns from UKHospitality Cymru and taken the decision to continue some form of business rates relief.  

“UKHospitality campaigned hard for relief to be extended in Westminster, which resulted in additional funds for the Senedd, and it’s clear hospitality has been recognised as a sector in need of support. 

“While we appreciate the economic pressures the Welsh Government is under, there will be concern from businesses that relief has been reduced to 40%, from 75%, and that business rates will be increased across the board by 5%. 

“It must be remembered that hospitality businesses already pay more than their fair share of business rates because the current system is out-of-date and punitive for bricks and mortar businesses.”

Chapman added that with hospitality businesses in England set to benefit from a higher level of rates relief in the year to come, Welsh businesses will be left at a competitive disadvantage.

“Small businesses, in particular, will feel hard done by as their counterparts will see rates frozen across the border. A typical local pub or restaurant in Wales will, for example, be paying £6,400 more than one in England.”

Earlier this week, Scottish tourism and hospitality bodies issued a unified statement in response to the Scottish Government’s Budget, branding the decision not to replicate the business rates support given provided to the industry in England as ‘extremely disappointing’​.

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