A Plaid Cymru government will involve the private sector and its representative bodies in providing business support and advice aimed at small businesses (less than 10 employees) by strengthening the current Business Wales network. Plaid Cymru will also pass a Regulatory Reform Act to lower the bureaucratic burden on business.
Plaid will increase business rate relief so that more than 70,000 small and medium companies will pay no business rates at all. Any firm with a rateable value of less than £10,000 per year will pay no business rates and a Plaid government will introduce a tapered relief for another 20,000 firms whose rateable value is between £10,000 and £20,000. In order to enourage new startups Plaid will not charge any business rates due for the first year of operation.
The Party of Wales will review business rates every three years, so that they are kept up-to-date, and investigate the impact of premises investment so that businesses are not penalised for improvements that they make. We will subject small and large businesses to different multipliers as is the case in Scotland and England and will index rates to CPI not RPI.
Additionally targeted business rate reliefs will be offered for larger companies that agree to meet certain criteria on corporate social responsibility – including opportunities for local suppliers, the Welsh Living Wage, the minimisation of waste and the use of renewable energy. Businesses of all sizes that meet the criteria will be entitled to display a kitemark as responsible Welsh businesses.
Plaid Cymru in government will act immediately to set up a new fund to enable local authorities and community groups to offer two hours free car parking in towns throughout Wales, providing a vital boost to town centre regeneration across all of Wales.
We will support social innovation, social enterprise, employee and consumer co-ops. We will establish a co-operative challenge fund to provide financial support for feasibility and market studies and early stage finance for groups exploring the option of establishing cooperatives. Plaid Cymru will support the establishment of a social business school to develop the skills of social entrepreneurs, and a social innovation park to incubate new ideas.