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‘Scrap business rates up to £12k’

Created on 17/08/2016 @ 12:56
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Scrapping business rates for small shops and introducing free parking are just two key moves that should be introduced to stop the decline on the high street, according to a local Assembly Member.

Russell George AM has called on the Welsh Government to do more to support Powys’ high streets after a study by the Welsh Retail Consortium revealed that while visits to high streets are on the up, shop vacancy rates have risen.

Responding to the report, Russell George, AM for Montgomeryshire and Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, said: “While the modest increase in visitors to Wales’ shops is encouraging, the report also confirms the continuation of a worrying trend for Wales’ high streets.

“The UK Government has brought in changes to support small businesses in England, and the Welsh Government must now come forward to do the same, as currently Welsh businesses are at a competitive disadvantage.

“With shop vacancy rates still rising, the Welsh Government must use all the devolved levers available to them to reverse this trend.

“We need new and innovative measures which will allow local high street businesses to compete and remain relevant at a time when internet and out-of-town shopping centres are posing significant threats.

“Business rates reform, simplified planning, free parking; these are just some of the proposals which I have been pushing for many years to support small businesses across Montgomeryshire.

“One of the biggest financial strains on high street businesses are business rates and this is why I have long-called for the scrapping of business rates for those valued up to £12,000.

“Another issue blighting our high streets is the lack of free parking. People should not be penalised with gratuitous charges for wanting to spend money on our high streets. The evidence clearly shows that when parking is made easy, footfall soars so free parking is one of the ways in which the future of our local high streets can be secured.”

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