Rate relief for charities which fill town centres with shops will be harder to come by in Ceredigion, with the council’s draft budget earmarking a saving of £10,000 by focusing any discount on local charities.

The draft budget for 2024/25 identifies plans to save £10,000 on NNDR Discretionary Relief.

The scheme gives up to 80 per cent off business rates bills, particularly used for charity shops.

Ceredigion County Council now wants to reduce the budget for the scheme and “bring forward a new policy to scale back support” from 1 April.

Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee members heard that the reduced budget would “focus on Ceredigion specific organisations” and a new “maximum award level” would be introduced.

If the changes are brought forward, members heard, there would be a potential saving for 2025/26 of around £65,000.

12 months’ notice is required for any change and will need formal approval, a report said.

“Reductions in funding for NNDR Discretionary relief and Community grants could potentially affect some voluntary sector organisations,” a report put before members said.

“However, core reliance on council funding should never be assumed and organisations would need to become more flexible and agile in sourcing and seeking other funding opportunities.”