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A COUPLE behind a Monmouthshire cafe say the rise in business rates has forced them to move to another town.

The Play Den, which was set up in Bridge Street, Usk, two years ago, hosts craft sessions for children of all ages.

Business owners Debbie and Dogs Darnborough say they have had to relocate though, because of the business rates rise set to come into place next month.

“We got wind of it all in November,” said Mrs Darnborough. “Our rates were set at £10,500 a year but in April would be going up to £16,500 a year. That takes us out of all the relief schemes. It’s ridiculous really.”

The 35-year-old, who lives in Raglan, said although it wasn’t ideal, her and her husband decided to move to Abergavenny and will carry on the business there. It will officially re-open this Saturday.

She said: “We held on until the end but realised we just had to move. I was really angry because we had a lot of friends here and we had regular customers and children who came in as well.

“It’s sad as well because we were settled where we were.”

The couple have moved to a smaller venue in Cross Street, Abergavenny, which means they won’t have to pay any business rates as firms operating from a location with a rateable value of less than £6,000 is given a 100 per cent discount on the tax.

“We are below the £6,000 threshold so we don’t have to pay any business rates at all,” Mrs Darnborough added.

“We are one of the lucky ones that have found an alternative. Not a lot of people have that option.

“We would be going bankrupt if we had stayed in Usk.”

Business rates are a tax on non-domestic properties, such as shops and offices. The rateable values are set by the UK valuation office and the rates multiplier is set by the Welsh Government.

Recently, the Assembly Government announced a £10-million targeted relief scheme to help businesses in Wales – with eligible retailers able to claim up to £1,500 in support.

But Mrs Darnborough said: “I don’t think this will do anything for those paying the highest business rates at all.”

The Play Den will open in Abergavenny this Saturday at 10am. Visit theplayden.org.uk