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Business Minister costing Wales jobs due to business rates relief uncertainty

2013 Hydref 1 5:42 PM

Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Minister, has accused the Business Minister of costing Wales jobs due to uncertainty over the future of business rate relief for charities.

The Business Minister has decided to delay her decision on business rates relief for charities; instead she plans to work with the UK Government and other devolved administrations to discuss the proposals.

The Business Minister has also announced that she is to introduce two further business rates schemes to help businesses.

Eluned Parrott AM said:

"Today's announcement should have nailed the coffin lid on proposals to hike taxes on charities, however the Minister decided to fudge the decision. I'm pleased the Minister has finally taken some action to tackle the blight of empty properties, but the uncertainty over the future of charity business rates could actually mean more empty shops on our high streets.

"Due to the Minister's proposals to cut rates relief for charities, we have already heard that some charities have abandoned plans to expand in Wales. Sadly the uncertainty will remain until the Minister categorically says these proposals will never see the light of day. This lack of clarity is costing Wales jobs and investment.

"It's ironic that with one hand the Minister is aiming to encourage businesses to fill Wales' empty shops, but with the other she is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and concern that we know has prevented a number of charities doing exactly that.

"Charities are telling me that they won't invest and expand in Wales until there is clarity over future future proposals. The Minister had a chance to end that uncertainty today, yet refused to do so."