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1,300 retail business set for help with rates

Around 1,300 retail businesses in Swansea are in line for financial help with their business rates.

Swansea Council Logo (Landscape square)

Swansea Council has asked the Welsh Government for £2.3m so that many of the city's 'high street' shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes can be supported.

The Welsh Government sets business rates but it is extending its High Street and Retail Rates Relief Scheme for the next financial year.

Under the scheme, which will be managed in Swansea by the council, eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of £50,000 or less will be helped with their bills.

The criteria is set by the Welsh Government and the scheme is aimed at retail properties such as shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Swansea Council's Cabinet will be asked to approve the scheme at its meeting on February 20.

Council Leader Rob Stewart said: "Many beneficiaries will be the small or independent businesses that are so important to Swansea.

"We estimate that around 1,300 businesses will qualify for support so this is excellent news for the city's retail sector.

"Our city centre is undergoing the biggest transformation it has seen for generations and week after week people can now see improvements.

"It is an exciting time for Swansea and this will help to keep that momentum going."

In the majority of instances the council will identify an eligible retail premises from its records and award the relief automatically.

Where the council cannot be certain a business qualifies then the owner will be issued with a formal application to complete.

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 enthusiasm for 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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