BUSINESSES hit by increases in their rates will be supported financially by the county council following a pledge this week.

Deputy leader of Monmouthshire County Council, (MCC) Councillor Bob Greenland confirmed on Monday (20th March) that financial support will be offered by the council “if the Welsh Government fails to offer further help.”

Details of the Welsh Government’s £10 million Targeted High Street Relief Scheme (THSRRS), as reported in the Beacon last month, will mean around 400 businesses in the county will be eligible for as much as £1,500 off their rates bill for next year.

The move has seen the Welsh Government accused of “backtracking” by some, with owner of Monmouth’s MonTeas David Tovey saying that “something dire still needs to be done.”

“In first announcing the transitional relief and now the targeted relief they’ve backtracked twice,” he said.

“It’s recognition that a clanger was dropped in the first place.”

This week MCC’s Conservative Gro-up urged further action to protect small businesses from the hike in business rates imposed by the Welsh Government.

Cllr Bob Greenland said: “The businesses at risk are mainly in our town centres. If these businesses close it could send our town centres into rapid decline. The £10 million fund the Welsh Government has brought forward so far for the whole of Wales will still leave many businesses facing closure. We will continue to fight for our businesses.”

Concerns were raised when details of Welsh Government’s THSRRS were revealed, including which businesses would be covered by the relief.

However according to chairman of Monmouth’s Chamber of Commerce David Cummings, all retail premises in the county will be covered by the targeted relief.

David Cummings said: “MCC have decided to take a fairly loose interpretation to the words ‘High Street’ in THSRRS and apply the benefits to all retail premises in towns in the county.

“They estimate that about 400 out of the 3,167 businesses with rateable premises will qualify.

“There are also terms and conditions imposed by WG so out of town, empty properties, doctors, dentists, hotels and self-catering will not be eligible for THSRRS. Pubs will be eligible.”

A covering letter explaining Welsh Government’s targeted relief scheme and how it will be applied will be released to businesses in Monmouthshire soon.