MONMOUTHSHIRE county councillors have voiced concern that an extra £10million to support small businesses in Wales hit by ‘astronomic’ business rate rises is not enough to help local traders.

Cllr Bob Greenland, deputy leader with responsibility for enterprise (Con, Wolvesnewton), said: “Astronomic rises for some businesses are proposed by the revaluation of business rates across the country that takes effect from April. 

“News of the Welsh Government scheme to help those severely affected by the revaluation in business rates is filtering through. This new fund supplements the existing £10million fund that has been running for some time. 

“Further clarity is needed, but from what we know already it is clear this is not going to bring much help to the many businesses in the county that this revaluation will put in jeopardy.  I have asked to meet with business leaders from our towns as soon as possible.  By then we should have a clearer picture of the details of the scheme. 

“The council will not stand back and see businesses go to the wall.  The diversity of small independent shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants is the lifeblood of our towns.”

Nearly 15,000 shops, restaurants and pubs in Welsh high streets will benefit from the rate relief scheme but Cllr Greenland has questioned what constitutes a high street and whether the new funding will focus on those businesses adversely affected by the recent revaluations.

New rateable values are based on the rental value of properties at April 1, 2015, reflecting changes in the property market across the country since the last revaluation based on 2008 rental values.