HUNDREDS of businesses in Caerphilly county borough will be able take advantage of a business rates relief scheme for another year.

The council has adopted with immediate effect the Welsh Government’s ‘High Street Rate Relief Scheme’ for the 2018/19 financial year.

Businesses with a rateable value of £50,000 or less could receive discounts of £250 or up to £750 depending on eligibility.

Non-domestic business rates (NNDR) are a property tax set by the Welsh Government every year, with local authorities responsible for collecting the money on their behalf.

The Welsh Government has allocated £132,000 in grant funding to be allocated by Caerphilly council.

Around 430 businesses within the authority, such as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars, will be eligible to apply for the scheme.

Caerphilly council’s cabinet unanimously voted to adopt the scheme on Wednesday, but Councillor Carl Cuss said there was a degree of “misunderstanding” within the community regarding business rates.

“People think the money comes to us but we just collect it, and the Welsh Government administers the rates,” the cabinet member for social care and wellbeing added.

Councillor Dave Poole, leader of the council, asked: “What is our definition of high street? Can this also apply to any shop on the corner?”

John Carpenter, council tax and business rates manager for the council, said: “We’re limited to the Welsh Government guidance paper but it is open to a degree of interpretation.

"We apply as generous a definition as we can in terms of properties we deem to be eligible.”

The report suggests that the council could apply the rate relief directly to the bills of eligible ratepayers who had previously applied, and received, support in 2017/18, to “maximise take-up and minimise administration costs”.

A total of 74 per cent of eligible ratepayers received NNDR relief last year.

New applicants to the scheme who would be eligible would have to be complete an application form by no later than February 15, 2019.

The council must spend their share of funding by February 28 and have been given a small administration grant of £3,371 to cover the scheme’s implementation.