A NEW £20million business rate scheme proposed for the seven Enterprise Zones in Wales may not provide relief after all, councillors have warned.

The business rate relief scheme, announced by the Welsh Government in response to its assessment of the Business Rates Review, is expected to start in January 2013 in all seven zones, including the Haven Waterway, and aims to support start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that are expanding and investing.

But councillors at the economy, overview and scrutiny committee this month said that this figure was not good enough.

Councillor John Allen-Mirehouse said: “The £20million rate relief announced by the Welsh Government for businesses in Enterprise Zones is a marvellous figure. But there are seven zones, which means about £2.5million per Enterprise Zone, and that is not an impressive figure.

“I do not think that it would tempt me if I was looking to invest.”

He added that the Welsh Government’s inaction when it came to the zones, including establishing their boundaries, was nothing more than “paperwork and promises”.

He said: “I am very sceptical about this. All we seem to get is paperwork and promises – nothing actually happens.

“I am sorry to say, but I think that one of the big sicknesses we have in Wales is vast amounts of people producing vast amounts of paper, producing phraseology, but very little comes out at the end. Surely someone up there in Cardiff must realise this?

“I remember the previous Enterprise Zone – a lot of money was wasted and nothing was achieved.”