2020 has begun with more bad news for the High Street. The statistics for the number of shops closing is startling. Up to 16 shops a day are reported to be closing.
Wales News Online took a walk on Llanelli High Street today, Wednesday (Jan 8).
You can listen to our podcast here, discussing the issue of empty shops.
The woes are not isolated to Llanelli or Wales. 11% of shops closed in England in 2019 whereas 13% closed in Wales. Newport recorded the highest percentage of empty shops in Wales at 28% .
There is good news as Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans announced an additional £24.2m to support Welsh businesses in 2020-21 through the Welsh Government’s high street and retail rates relief scheme.
The high street and retail rates relief scheme will provide support to over 15,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 2020-21.
It will be fully funded by the Welsh Government and will provide support of up to £2,500 towards the rates bills for retail properties with a rateable value of up to £50,000.
It will reduce rates bills to zero for retail properties with a rateable value up to £9,100 and reduce bills by £2,500 for properties with a higher rateable value.
As well as supporting retailers on the high street, the scheme will continue to support retailers in other locations. Ratepayers benefitting from the relief include those with occupied retail premises such as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars.
A further £2.4m will be allocated to local authorities to provide additional discretionary rates relief for local businesses and other ratepayers to respond to specific local issues.
The funding will be provided through the local government settlement, taking the total being provided to local authorities for discretionary relief to £4.8m for 2020-21.
This scheme will continue to be administered by local authorities on an application basis and operates in addition to the wide range of other support provided by the Welsh Government.