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'High Street' businesses to get help with rates

Around 1,000 Swansea 'high street' businesses could be in line for financial help with business rates.

Swansea Market

Swansea Council has recently approved plans to implement a Welsh Government High Street Rate Relief Scheme (HSRRS) for 2018/19.

The Council has asked the WG for nearly £380,000 which it will use to provide financial support to businesses it defines as occupied 'high street businesses' and estimates there are approximately 1,000 that could qualify.

Local businesses that are not located in an 'out of town' shopping centre or an industrial estate could be offered up to £750 to help with their rates.

Clive Lloyd, Cabinet Member for Business Transformation and Performance, said: "We need to do all we can to assist high street businesses and help them during a difficult time.

"The Welsh Government has provided Councils with guidance on how to operate the scheme and identify those occupied business premises that qualify. We estimate there are around 1,000 businesses that could benefit financially from this worthwhile scheme.

"We want to see a thriving city centre along with thriving commercial centres is local communities and this financial support will assist us with this."

The approved scheme also includes plans to increase take up of the offer by removing the need for businesses to apply for the relief. The Council will identify an eligible high street business premises from their records and award the relief automatically.

Cllr Lloyd added: "A similar scheme that operated last year required businesses to apply for the rate relief and because of this some of the money offered by the WG went unclaimed. "We're doing things differently this time to ensure that every business that qualifies is included and benefits"

If the Council cannot satisfy itself that a business premises complies with the necessary criteria, the business will be issued with a formal application to complete and return so that a decision can be made.

Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID Chief Executive, said: "This is very welcome news for Swansea BID and for our businesses in the city centre who will be eligible.

"These are challenging times for high streets up and down the country and these rate relief schemes will potentially play an important role in reducing bottom line costs, giving businesses more security and viability.

"We see first-hand the hard work that our BID area businesses put into keeping the City Centre vibrant and attractive, and at Swansea BID we do all we can to support them in this.

"We are delighted to see Swansea Council's Cabinet approve this very sensible scheme, which, along with the ongoing regeneration investment in the City Centre, will help to future-proof our high streets."

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