The first Cross Party Group of Assembly Members reconvened this week (29/11/2016) with representatives from each of the main parties present.
Suzy Davies AM Conservative South Wales West was re-elected as chair, with the WTA being recognised at the main conduit for future agenda items / issues. At the meeting WASCO, BHA and WTA joined forces to ask AM’s to look into the whole issue of business rates. Adrian Barsby (Chair WTA) and Adrian Greason-Walker (Policy Advocate WTA) were given the opportunity to introduce the new CPG and outline other issues affecting the industry, particularly in the light of the UK's anticipated departure from the EU.
The Chair of WASCO, Jan Meulendijk gave an in-depth presentation highlighting the escalation of business rates from 3% of revenue in 2000 to 12/15% in 2016. Proposals for 2017 will see his own business rates almost double. It seems many tourism businesses are seeing proposed increases of 40-70% with some exceptional cases seeing this in excess of 100%. David Chapman, Executive Director, Wales BHA also made a case as to the impact of business rates increases for members of the industry above the threshold which places them outside the current business rate relief scheme. The next meeting is scheduled for late January 2017.