Non-Domestic Rating (Multiplier) (Wales) Regulations 2023 debated in Senedd
The Non-Domestic Rating (Multiplier) (Wales) Regulations 2023 were agreed in Senedd on Tuesday (28th February), which will see the multiplier frozen for 2023/24.
Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans MS, stated:
“I move the motion to approve the Non-Domestic Rating (Multiplier) (Wales) Regulations 2023. The regulations set the non-domestic rating multiplier for 2023-24.
“On 12 December, I announced the decision to freeze the multiplier for 2023-24. It will remain at the same level set since 2020-21, which is 0.535. This means that all the rates bills paid in 2023-24 will be substantially lower than they would otherwise be.
“This change,” she continued, “will help businesses and other ratepayers in Wales, particularly given the pressures that they’ve been facing, whilst maintaining a stable stream of tax revenue for local services. The freeze is fully funded by the Welsh Government. We’re investing over £100 million annually to cover the cost, so there’ll be no impact on the funding provided for services via NDR.”
There was resistance from the Welsh Conservatives who called for a reduction in the multiplier, speaking on their behalf Peter Fox MS, Shadow Minister for Finance, said.
“While I’m pleased that that the multiplier has not risen,” he explained, “we cannot support the freeze, because it is clear that much more could have been done to support the business community.
“For example, as the explanatory memorandum highlighted in option 3, where it suggests an option to reduce the multiplier by 2 per cent, well, that would have brought us more in line with the rest of the UK.
Their (Scotland and England) multipliers are more generous, as are their small business relief schemes. It’s clear that the cost of doing business is higher here in Wales than the rest of Great Britain, stunting business growth and increasing the pressures on business at a time when we should be looking to support them.”
The motion, however, was eventually agreed, with 37 Members voting For and 11 voting Against.
Rebecca Evans continued to say:
“It’s also worth recognising, of course, that our support in terms of freezing the multiplier is only part of our support for businesses.
“We’re providing through the final budget, which has been published today, over £460 million of support to ratepayers in Wales over the next two financial years, and that’s on top of the £240 million of support that we provide every year.
“So,” she continued, “we’re providing very extensive support to ratepayers across Wales in terms of, particularly, small businesses, but also those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, who will have their bills next year reduced by 75 per cent as a result of the support that we’re providing.”
As a result of this announcement, any business paying non-domestic rates should see their bills remain static for the next financial year, so long as they have not been impacted by revaluation. Some businesses in the sport and leisure sector will also be in receipt of a previously announced 75% discount on their rates.
Regarding additional support for the sport and leisure sector, we will continue to state the case for the industry’s immediate need for additional support. We are delighted that the Welsh Government has committed to supporting calls for energy bill support for swimming pools, although we will continue to advocate for this call to come to fruition. The sector is currently waiting for the UK Government’s spring budget on 15 March to hear if any additional funding will be forthcoming.
The Welsh Sports Association (WSA) will continue to monitor and engage with Welsh Government and the Senedd in order to make the case and to keep our members as updated and aware as possible regarding the issues that are pertinent to them.
The WSA also offers services that can support facilities amid the incredibly challenging financial landscape that currently threatens the sector. Our Procurement Portal, for example, has already supported grassroots clubs with their energy costs to great effect.
We will also continue to host sector calls to address the situation, having delivered the first recently. Please get in contact with the WSA team if you didn’t receive an invitation to the last but would like to attend the next.