Conservatives misleading businesses over rate-relief


Plaid Cymru has accused the Conservatives in Wales of misleading the business community on their business rates pledge.  The Tories claim they will scrap business rates yet their shadow budget shows that there would be significant reductions across the board, including to the economy budget, should they get their way.


The Conservatives in Wales have claimed they will provide rate-relief of 100% to all small businesses with a rateable value up to £12,000.  However this promise is simply not affordable.  Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the Aberconwy constituency, Iwan Huws, has claimed the Tories pledge has absolutely no credibility considering the Conservatives’ current plans to cut the local government budget, which deals with rate-relief, by 12.5%, far greater than currently proposed. 


In the past the Conservatives have stated they plan to give responsibility for rate relief to the Economic Development department.  However at the same time they are campaigning for a massive 30% cut to that portfolio, almost a third more than what the Welsh Government believes is necessary.   


Iwan Huws said:


“As the Assembly’s Social Justice& Local Government department, which the Conservatives in Wales want to cut by 12.5%, is responsible for business rates relief it is staggering that the Conservatives would try and fool anyone into thinking their plans are possible.  They are making wild promises that cannot be delivered.


“We have heard Conservatives in the past say they believe that the responsibility for rate relief should be handed to the Economic Development department.  That wouldn’t be a bad idea if they were not also trying to see a 30% cut inflicted on that budget. 


“However you look at them the Conservative plans simply do not make sense financially.  They have been put together using fantasy economics.  The cuts which the Tories at the Assembly say they would like to see in Wales show that their policies for the economy are nothing more than an uncosted bribe to the business community that would never be affordable.


“They say that they want to support industry in Wales but at the same time want to see massive cuts to our budgets.  They would want to see 30% cuts to the economy budget, 30% cuts to the transport budget, 15% cut to the rural affairs budget and 12.5% to local government to name just a few.  The cuts to the economy budget under the Tories alone would be £118m more than is already being seen. 


“It seems staggering that on one hand the Tories are proposing to help businesses but on the other they have been actively lobbying the Welsh Government to see massive cuts that will lead to a number of job losses.”


Nerys Evans, Plaid Cymru’s Director of Policy and candidate in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, added:

“Plaid Cymru’s plans for business rates have been costed and are deliverable, something that certainly cannot be said for the Conservatives.  What Plaid Cymru is proposing is to maintain the temporary business rate relief scheme until 2016, ensuring that around half of small businesses will continue to pay no business rates at all.  That will have a major impact on businesses in Wales and will allow our economy to continue to recover from the mess Labour created and which the Tories and Lib Dems are making worse.  What is more important is that whilst it is ambitious it is also deliverable.”





Proposed Welsh budget cuts by the Conservative Assembly group.

  • Health and Social Services NIL
  • Social Justice and Local Government 12.5%
  • Education, Children & Lifelong Learning 12%
  • Economy and Transport 30%
  • Environment, Sustainability and Housing 25%
  • Rural Affairs 15%
  • Heritage 20%
  • Public Services and Performance 30%
  • Central Services and Administration 25%