BUSINESSES in Barry have backed a nationwide campaign seeking to extend the Small Business Rate Relief scheme.

Several businesses on Barry High Street have signed an open letter to First Minister Carwyn Jones calling for an extension of the Welsh Government’s scheme to abolish rates on businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000.

The local signatories - including Café Cwtch, Belle Moi Dress Agency, Dr Bob’s Balloons and Beautiful Lily - have put their names to the letter which states: "The Small Business Rate Relief scheme has been vital to small businesses across Wales. Properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less are eligible for 100 percent relief.

"The rate of relief decreases from 100 percent to zero percent for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.

"Whilst we recognise that the scheme has been extended in Wales until March 2015 we believe that the scheme must go further.

Vale resident AM, Andrew RT Davies, said: “I am delighted that Barry businesses have backed this campaign. The letter has been signed by 70 small businesses, as well as local Chamber of Trade organisations across Wales representing hundreds more.

“Business rates are an obstacle to job creation and prosperity. Small and medium sized businesses make up 99 percent of all Welsh firms and if every one were to take on a single additional employee, unemployment in Wales could be wiped out overnight.

“I regularly meet with businesses in the Vale and here in the Assembly the Conservative group is working hard to support local high streets like those in Barry.

“Business rate reform would help small businesses to stay afloat, expand and create new jobs, ultimately bringing life back to our increasingly deserted high streets.

“We hope Labour Ministers will listen to the concerns of small businesses and address their calls for urgent business rate reform.”

The current scheme provides complete relief for businesses with a rateable value up to £6,000 and is tapered up to £12,000.

Welsh Conservatives are calling for 100 percent business rate relief for businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000 and relief tapered from 100 percent to zero percent for those with a rateable value of up to £15,000.

This move would see 73 percent of businesses taken out of business rates altogether and a further five percent benefitting from tapered relief.