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Let’s revive the bustling, vibrant town centres of the past

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Plaid Cymru outlines why devolving business rates is a key opportunity to revive town centres

The Party of Wales has called on the Welsh Government to show ambition and use business rates to revive Wales’ struggling town centres.

The party’s economy spokesperson Alun Ffred Jones has said that the party had long campaigned for the devolution of business rates as a means of supporting Wales’ ailing town centres and supporting SMEs.

The UK Government recently announced that it will devolve business rates to the Welsh Government.

Plaid Cymru has called for the criteria for determining the Rateable Value of business properties to be reformed, to remove the disincentive for businesses to improve their property and to give the location of properties a greater influence in the valuation process.

The Party of Wales Shadow Economy Minister Alun Ffred Jones AM said:
“Our town centres used to be bustling, vibrant places to shop.

“Across Wales there are high streets that used to be full of shoppers and traders that now lie empty, bar a few charity shops or discount stores.

“It’s a sad indicator of a political culture that has failed to support the businesses that contribute the most to our economy.

“Plaid Cymru has been campaigning to change this for many years. We have long called for the UK Government to devolve business rates to Wales so that we can set them at an appropriate level to help our businesses grow and prosper.

“We want to extend the Business Rate Relief Scheme to cover all businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less which would take 83,000 businesses out of paying rates.

“We also want to address the imbalance which makes Wales the most expensive place in the UK for small businesses by introducing a separate business rate multiplier for large businesses which could help fund a cut in the multiplier for small businesses.

“At present, Wales only has one multiplier rate that applies to all businesses irrespective of size, while England has a separate rate for smaller and larger businesses and Scotland has an additional third rate for supermarkets.

“SMEs are the backbone of the Welsh economy, making up 99% of the companies in Wales and more than two-thirds of the private sector workforce.

“They are the majority of shops on our high streets, and it is important that government does what it can to support them.”

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