Our small businesses in Wales make a vitally important contribution to our economy and account for 99% of all businesses in Wales; it is vital we support this sector. Business rates account for a significant part of operating costs for small businesses and as a result prevent businesses from growing, from investing in themselves and in many cases, creating more jobs. We need to remove the burden of business rates and allow our private sector to flourish and create employment opportunities.
Small businesses are vital for our economy, they form the backbone of our economy and they are vital in terms of spreading economic growth beyond the cities and into our smaller towns like Abergavenny, Chepstow, Caldicot, Monmouth and Usk. If we want our small towns across Wales to be thriving, then we have to support small businesses. Business rates are a burden – they account for a far greater proportion of operating costs for a small business than they do for large businesses.
Plaid has long championed the importance of local economies when it comes to generating national wealth. Every £1 spent in a local business selling local produce is worth twice as much to the economy as £1 spent in a supermarket, due to local reinvestment and spending. As noted by the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England, every £10 pound spent in a local business circulates at least three times before it leaves the local economy rather than vanishing when spent in the branches of chains.
A Plaid Cymru government would extend the rate relief scheme that we implemented in Government to covers all businesses whose rateable value is £10,000 or less and extend the tapered relief scheme up to £20,000. Some 90,000 businesses would see a reduction in their business rates as a result and more than 70,000 businesses across Wales would be taken out of the rates system.
Plaid would raise the money, which would go towards paying for this, by mirroring the business rates system, as it currently exists in England where large businesses pay more than small businesses. While larger businesses would pay more, they would still pay less in Wales than they would across the border. The extra money raised through the increased bill for large businesses would raise more than enough to cut bills for small businesses.