Helping hand for Welsh butchers

Butchers in Wales are to receive a helping hand from the Welsh Assembly Government to pay expensive business rates.

In a package worth £7m, 10,600 small businesses, such as butchers, will receive financial aid to help pay local government small business rates.

Local Government Minister Dr Brian Gibbons (Lab) said: "This package of relief demonstrates the Assembly Government's commitment to providing real assistance to smaller businesses to help them in these tough times for the economy. The package will help small, independently owned shops, public houses, and food outlets and will boost the provision of child care for working parents."

The changes see an increase to the upper rateable value limit for most businesses eligible for a 25% reduction from £5,000 to £6,500, reducing their annual rates bill by between £583 and £757.

There will also be a 25% reduction for smaller retail premises, including butchers' shops, with a rateable value between £6,501 and £9,000, reducing their annual bill by between £757 and £1,049.

"Together with our scheme to provide funding for businesses that allow public access to their toilet facilities, this package provides around £7m worth of additional assistance for businesses, which is in line with our One Wales commitment," added Gibbons.

Earlier this month, the Federation of Small Business (FSB) delivered a letter to Downing Street, urging for reforms to help out small businesses in hard times during the current downturn in the economy.

At the Liberal Democrats' party conference in Bournemouth, party leader Nick Clegg was the latest high-profile politician to sign up to the FSB's petition to keep trade local.

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