The ‘Help Our High Street’ campaign, launched across Brecon & Radnorshire by Chris Davies, is nearing completion of its first stage.
Chris Davies, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Brecon & Radnorshire, has been visiting independent high street retailers over the summer to deliver copies of the ‘A Vision for the Welsh High Street’ document. This document is a dossier of policies, proposals and ideas to help our local high street businesses and revitalise our town centres.
Local businesses have been feeding back their opinions on the document and also further suggestions as to what help they need.
Chris Davies said:
“The response from local businesses to my ‘Help Our High Street’ campaign has been fantastic. They are incredibly supportive and genuinely pleased that someone is trying to help them.
“For too long has the Welsh Assembly Government, Powys Council and local politicians, just sat back and watched whilst our local high streets have been ravaged by the advance of supermarkets, out of town retail parks and internet trading.
“Local high streets are the life blood of our towns and communities and it is the job of the Welsh Assembly Government, the Council and local politicians, to aid and support them, particularly during such challengingly competitive times.
“It is very apparent from my campaign that there are two major issues that high street businesses are crying out for help with. The first is the Business Rates that are crippling our small local businesses. A worryingly large number of independent retailers confided that they will be out of business within a year unless help is forthcoming on this issue. The fully costed Conservative policy detailed in the ‘A Vision for the Welsh High Street’ document - To scrap Business Rates for all small businesses with a rateable value of under £12,000, has won almost unanimous support in our high streets. I have been calling on the Labour Welsh Assembly Government to adopt this policy for the last 3 years. By ignoring the cries of help from small businesses, the Welsh Assembly Government is literally forcing high street retailers across Wales to close.
“Most retailers were also shocked to learn that in Wales the ‘Multiplier’ used by government to determine how much a business pays in Business Rates, is the same for all businesses, large or small. The Welsh Assembly Government must look at splitting the Welsh ‘multiplier’ for small and large firms, to bring us into line with England and Scotland and to allow a level playing field for Welsh businesses.
“The second major issue raised by almost every high street retailer, is parking. Shop owners and shoppers want the option of a longer stay in our car parks. Powys County Council has restricted much of our town centre parking to a 2 hour stay. Most believe this is insufficient and is stopping people from fully using the services on offer in our high streets. Two hours is simply not enough time to do the shopping, your banking, maybe have a haircut and meet friends for lunch. I have lost count of the number of shop workers who have told me about customers rushing out of the shop door in a blind panic to get back to their car before their 2 hour stay is up. Powys County Council needs to understand the advantages of raising this parking stay limit to 4 hours. The easier it is for people to spend more time in the high street, the more money they will spend. The more our local businesses prosper, the more local jobs get created. Powys County Council must act on this issue and I am already rallying support within County Hall to try to make this change happen.”
Copies of ‘A Vision For The Welsh High Street' are available from the Conservative office in Brecon. Tel: 01874 624796 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org