Minister listens to concerns of Welshpool Business Forum

Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George, raised concerns about the equity of business rates levied on businesses in Welshpool during questions to the Business and Enterprise Minister this week.

One of the key concerns relayed to Mr George during a recent meeting with the Welshpool Business Form [Monday 16th January] was that there was a distinct lack of parity between the level of business rates charged for new and existing businesses in the town compared to charitable shops, who get significant rate relief.

Mrs Hart responded by saying that she had received similar concerns from businesses in other parts of Wales and that that she would feed these concerns to the Government’s Business Rate Review Panel, led by Prof Brian Morgan of the University of Glamorgan, so they could examine this issue further.

Commenting Mr George said:

“I have long supported social enterprises like charitable shops, as they do play a valuable role on the High Street.  However, I do understand the concerns raised by the Business Forum in that the business rate discounts that charity shops enjoy – particularly when some stores are selling new goods – has built a disadvantage into the system that is causing a problem.

“I am pleased she is referring these concerns on to Prof Morgan, as a more equitable solution needs to be found so that retail competition can occur on a more level playing field.”