Plaid MS calls for action to 'save our town centres'

Sioned Williams echoes Federation of Small Businesses’ calls to lower business rates in town centres.

Plaid Cymru South Wales West Member of Senedd, Sioned Williams, has called on the Welsh Government to “take action to save our town centres” by lowering business rates. 

Sioned Williams made these comments, echoing the Federation of Small Businesses’ calls, in a question to the Economy Minister today in the Senedd. This follows complaints raised by local high street businesses in her region that they are finding it hard to cope with high business rates.  

In a question to the Economy Minister today, Sioned Williams said:  

“When prompted to rank what people would like to see in their local town centre or high street, ‘thriving small and independent shops’ came out on top in a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses for its recent report A Vision for Welsh Towns.   

“Even before Covid, town centres in my region were struggling and the pandemic has had an especially negative affect on small and family-run high street retail businesses.   

“The support given to these local businesses during the pandemic has of course helped them weather that particular storm, but now although restrictions are easing, footfall is still low and the bills are now piling up.   

“As high business rates are compounding the challenges town centres face, will the Minister consider increasing rates relief for town centre retail businesses, and heed the FSB’s call to urgently publish its review of the business rates system and outline proposals for substantive reform that works for small local businesses?” 

In her question, Sioned Williams referred to her discussion with a business owner who has run a shop in Neath town centre for much of the last ten years, who said: 

“With support ending and high business rates on top of that, we are having a tough time.   

“As sky rocketing energy bills are presenting another headache, lower business rates would really help.” 

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