Wales politics

Small business rate exemptions are extended to 2015-16

To Let signs
Image caption An expert panel suggested radical reform of business rate relief in Wales was best avoided initially

The small business rate relief scheme is being extended for another year, Economy Minister Edwina Hart has said.

It means business rates do not have to be paid on properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less.

Lower levels of relief are available to those with values of up to £12,000. England has a similar scheme.

Business rates will be fully devolved to Wales in April, but Mrs Hart said she had no plans to vary them in the first year.

An expert panel recommended 'stability' would be the best policy.

But she told AMs she would consider 'divergence' from the rest of the UK in the future.

Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said it was "deeply disappointing" that Mrs Hart had ruled out any expansion of the scheme before 2016.

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