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Newtown business highlighted during debate

Created on 27/11/2016 @ 12:40
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The plight of small businesses in Newtown has been raised in the Senedd as Montgomeryshire’s AM calls on the Welsh Government to take such enterprises out of the rates system altogether.
Business rates have been devolved to Wales since April 2015, and yet the Welsh Government has not chosen to introduce a permanent scheme of support to small businesses, according to Russell George.

He highlighted Jazz Clothing in Newtown as one business affected by business rates during a debate he led in the National Assembly for Wales which recognised the massive contribution which SMEs and the retail industry make to the Welsh economy and called on the Welsh Government to make fundamental reforms to the outdated system of business rates.
In an usual step, Mr George, who is also Chair of the National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committees, showed a video clip of small business owners from across Wales who have contributed to a video on how their businesses have been adversely affected by the burden of business rates.
One of these small business owners, Megan Lawley of Jazz Clothing in Newtown, is facing a significance increase in her business rates from April next year and spoke of possibly having to move to Shropshire where she would be able to get full rate relief.
Following the debate, Mr George said: “I have been contacted by small business owners from Newtown, Welshpool and across Montgomeryshire who are pleading with the Welsh Government to listen to them in calling for fundamental reform of this outdated business rates system.
“I was pleased to be able to raise Megan’s specific case to demonstrate the unfairness of this punitive tax which has prompted some businesses to relocate across the border or has forced other small business owners to borrow money off family just to stay afloat.”
He added: “Many Mid Wales businesses will now be questioning why a key election pledge by the Labour Party to deliver a tax cut for all small businesses has not been delivered. Instead, small businesses across Wales are now set to be hit by large increases in their rates, with no rises in rate relief bands to cushion the blow.
“This is in direct contrast to the situation in England whereby the UK Government have announced plans to increase rate relief for small firms, to ensure that no company with a rateable value of less than £12,000 would pay rates at all.
“The current system is not fit for purpose so no amount of tinkering around the edges will suffice. Fundamental reform is necessary to create a system which alleviates the pressure on retailers and small businesses across Wales, enabling them to reinvest, create jobs and expand.”

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