Plaid Cymru has long championed the importance of local economies when it comes to generating national wealth. Every £1 spent in a local business selling local produce is worth twice as much to the economy as £1 spent in a supermarket, due to local reinvestment and spending. As noted by the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England, every £10 pound spent in a local business circulates at least three times before it leaves the local economy rather than vanishing when spent in the branches of chains.
|Jill Evans MEP, Plaids lead European candidate|
Jill Evans MEP, The Party of Wales’ lead European candidate said:
"The importance of town centres is often underestimated. They have been allowed to wilt under successive governments in both Westminster and Cardiff and it’s time the Welsh Government produced a strategy to turn the situation around.
"Plaid Cymru has called for the business rates system to be completely reformed, levelling the playing field for small town centre businesses to compete with large out-of-town retail parks.
"In terms of business rates, Wales is the most expensive country in the UK for small businesses and the cheapest country for large multinationals.
"The system is clearly wrong and a Plaid Cymru government would make levelling the playing field a priority.
"We can’t turn the clock back, though, so we will need different models of town centres for a best-fit approach. This will involve a range of local strategies to create new stores and more pleasant places to shop so that we can increase the number of customers and people using those centres.
"We need the Welsh Government to produce a much more comprehensive plan to take on that challenge and lift town centres back to their rightful place as economically vibrant community hubs."
It is vital to ensure more people have the opportunity to economically support their local town centres across Wales, so we making them the vibrant heart of the community they once were. Over the last 30 years in Monmouth constituency (and elsewhere) we have all seen the damaging economic and social effects of bad short sighted questionable planning decisions on our small towns. The Welsh Government needs to actively support our town centres and create a more level playing field for small to medium sized local businesses.
Our town centres should be the economic heart of our communities, generating local wealth and jobs for our people. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have noted that the UK loses 2,000 local shops every year and that of this rate of loss continues then there will be significantly fewer independent retailers left in business. This is something that will seriously hit both consumers and our communities hard as they lose any real choice in the marketplace and lose potential job opportunities.