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Business rates support to continue in Rhondda Cynon Taf

RCT Cabinet has agreed to continue the Council’s Local Business Rate Reduction Scheme for another year – to grant an estimated 500 businesses that qualify for Welsh Government’s Retail, Leisure and Hospitality scheme with additional rate relief of up to £500.

The Retail, Leisure and Hospitality (RLH) Rates Relief in Wales Scheme has been provided by Welsh Government since 2020/21, as a temporary measure to support businesses like shops, pubs, restaurants, performance venues, gyms and hotels. It was introduced to help businesses in the pandemic and remains in place due to continuing economic pressures. It will provide a 40% business rate relief in 2024/25 for occupied premises of eligible businesses.

In addition, the Council has provided its own Local Business Rate Reduction Scheme to give extra support for Rhondda Cynon Taf businesses that qualify for the RLH scheme. This is a discretionary measure which, in 2023/24, has offered rate relief of up to £500 per qualifying business. The total support provided during the current financial year is £133,000 across 402 businesses.

On Wednesday, February 21, Cabinet agreed with officer recommendations to adopt Welsh Government’s RLH scheme in Rhondda Cynon Taf during 2024/25. Members also agreed to continue the Council’s own scheme at its current level of support (up to £500 per eligible business). It is estimated that around 500 businesses will qualify for this scheme in 2024/25.

Welsh Government requires businesses to apply to the Council to be assessed for the RLH scheme. Their Non Domestic Rates bill will then be adjusted accordingly, applying the RLH scheme plus the Council’s scheme.

Councillor Christina Leyshon, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Corporate Services, said: “I’m delighted that Cabinet Members have agreed to continue the Council’s Local Business Rate Reduction Scheme in the new financial year, from April 2024. In the past year, this local scheme has supported more than 400 businesses in Rhondda Cynon Taf with up to £500 rate relief, via a Council investment of £133,000.

“Our discretionary scheme has provided key funding to local businesses that is over and above Welsh Government’s all-Wales support in this area – as we know that businesses were hit particularly hard in the pandemic, while there continues to be significant economic challenges right across the sector.

“The Council continues to support its Corporate Plan priority to create and maintain vibrant town centres, through a package of support for businesses. These range from funding available to help businesses improve their shop fronts and premises, to support to bring vacant buildings back into use in our retail areas. The rate relief scheme for 2024/25, which is estimated to help around 500 businesses, also forms an important part of this support package.

“With the scheme now agreed and factored into next year’s Revenue Budget considerations, officers will prepare its roll-out. They will promote key details in due course – including the level of support that is available, the eligibility criteria, and details about how to apply. These will be communicated to businesses, and also shared on the Council’s website and social media.”

The report to Cabinet Members on Wednesday also noted that there are no planned changes to Welsh Government’s Small Business Rate Relief Scheme for next year, while two new schemes have also been announced by Welsh Government – the Improvement Relief and Heat Networks Relief schemes.

Please note, while it is now agreed to adopt the RLH scheme and continue the Local Business Rate Reduction Scheme in 2024/25, the current year’s schemes (for the financial year ending March 31, 2024) are still open for businesses to apply to. However, these schemes will close on March 31, 2024.