Business rates are currently a major issue in Wales for the viability of businesses and by extension the high street.
There are some imaginative ways that rate relief is being used to make town centres better places to be. For example, in Flintshire, they’ve offered a rate reduction to businesses that give public access to their toilets. Another way that rate relief and the business rate system could be used is to incentivise the growth of job-creating businesses over those that don’t, for instance by giving start-up businesses a rates-free period, or offering a discount to businesses in return for job creation.
I questioned the Minister for Finance on whether the Welsh Government should be reforming business rates to strategically target the system to actively encourage new business investment and job creation.