Sam Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, warns the Welsh Labour Government could be ‘killing the golden goose’ with its stance on business rates.
Mr Rowlands, Shadow Minister for Local Government was speaking in the Senedd as he closed the Welsh Conservative debate on business rates relief.
“Thriving businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and it should be an absolute priority for Welsh Government to support and enable businesses to flourish across Wales.
“Unfortunately, we’re not seeing that at the moment from the Labour Government here in Cardiff Bay, because, as we’ve heard, slashing those business rate reliefs from 75% to 40% would sadly cause too many businesses to go under and put serious pressure on many others.
“The numbers that make up the economy here in Wales on this particular issue, with the hospitality sector employing 165,000 people and contributing around £4 billion to the economy and the retail sector employing around 139,000 people as well.
“These are big numbers and show how important these businesses are to Wales. Behind every statistic, is an individual, a family, a network that relies on the success of those businesses and the creation of jobs, whether it’s a family-run greengrocers or a large pub chain, all making a difference in our communities and for people.
“The level of funding from UK Government, is that for every £1 spent on public services in England, Welsh Government receives £1.20. So, when there’s talk of unfair levels of money, there’s a 20% uplift to acknowledge some of the challenges here in Wales.
“Taxation is something that we pay to fund those public services, but we need to see businesses flourishing. We need people being able to get up in the morning and be confident going into their place of work, into their place of business, that it’s going to be successful in the future for them and their families.
“At the moment, as Conservatives, we feel that that move from 75% to 40% relief is a step too far. Welsh Government has had the money passed to it to reinstate that business rates relief to 75% cent, and we believe, you should do that immediately.”