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Businesses in Pontypridd say they need more support

Caspar Harris of Pete's Shop in Pontypridd (Pic: LDR)

BUSINESSES in Pontypridd say they want customers to have more disposable income to spend in their shops and that they need more support, with energy costs “through the roof.”

A number of businesses operating in the town have spoken about the challenges they face including the cost of energy and business rates as well as the impact that the cost-of-living is having on custom with people not spending as much in their shops.

They say that because people have less disposable income they are less likely to come in and buy things.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has been in Pontypridd speaking to local businesses about what matters to them in the run up to the general election on July 4.

Shannon Lloyd, who works at the No 12 cocktail bar on Market Street, said that the cost-of-living was a “massive” thing for them.

She said the price of business electricity was “crippling” at the moment and that costs were “just going up and up.”

She said: “Energy costs of running a business have gone through the roof.”

She said that everyone had less disposable income and their bills were going up so when businesses passed price increases on, customers couldn’t afford it.

She said: “We need more support for businesses.”

Shannon said everything was going up including council tax, the price of food and the price of petrol, adding that “everyone is being squeezed.”

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She said: “All we are trying to do is feed our families. If customers have more disposable income that means they are putting more back into businesses.” She added: “Look how many public houses are shutting.”

Caspar Harris helps run the wholefoods store, Pete’s Shop, in Taff Street which is a community benefit society selling wholefoods and world food, homebrew supplies and spices.

He said the cost-of-living, inequality and the environment were some of the key issues for him.

He said: “I’m disappointed that there is not more talk about climate change.” He added he was disappointed with both the Conservatives and Labour on this.

He also said that there were lot of developments happening in a very small area including at the nearby quarry and on wind and solar farms. Caspar said that people felt like they were not being included in decisions.

He said he supported things like solar farms and wind farms, but big companies were coming in and people were feeling left out.
Turning to the election, he said that the main two parties “aren’t different enough. I feel like I don’t have a choice”.

He also said: “There’s not enough talk about a new voting system.”

Elisa Hsiao of Elyn Boutique in Pontypridd (Pic: LDR)

Elisa Hsiao works at Elyn Boutique which is a florist located in Church Street and specialises in floral arrangements for weddings.

She said business was ok and that she was busy with weddings between March and October, especially at weekends.

But she said: “There are not many people passing by in the week. It is much less compared to last year.”

She said that the 50p flower boxes she had put out were so popular, saying: “You can tell that people are really struggling for money.”

She added: “For all businesses it’s about business rates. The council have been helping but they are more than they used to be. The economy is not getting better.”

Elisa said she’d been trying to find out more about small business grants but it could be difficult to approach the right person as a small business owner as they were run by one or two people who were always in the shop.

She also raised the issue of VAT and said the more people tried to push their business the more they had to pay.

In terms of voting, she said: “People just feel disappointed. I don’t even know who to pick.”

Osman Kazi of Planet H in Pontypridd (Pic: LDR)

Osman Kazi runs Planet H on Taff Street which specialises in handmade goods. He said: “It is a difficult time for everybody especially with the cost of living increasing.”

Osman said that business was a “struggle” and that he had been dishing out from his own pocket towards it and said the costs of maintaining a business were high.

He mentioned the cost of goods and said “nobody is spending as much because of the availability of disposable income.”

He said: “People are on the road but they are not in the shops. They are not spending. People are out there but not stepping in.”

In terms of the election, he said it was difficult to say what would happen and added that, “there is no magic stick” to change things overnight.

Osman said getting energy costs down would have a “very positive impact on disposable income.”

In terms of Wales as a whole, he said there needed to be investment here for jobs and so that businesses could thrive, saying they needed to invite industries to invest here and set up over here.

He said: “If an area is more deprived you take more interest in that area you don’t just leave and cut it off.”

He also said there was a brain drain happening in Wales with people moving away to places like London, Manchester and Birmingham having been educated here.

The candidates in the Pontypridd constituency at this election are Steven Wayne Bayliss (Reform UK), Joe Biddulph (Independent), Jonathan Bishop (Independent), Alex Davies-Jones (Welsh Labour), Angela Marie Gerrard Karadog (Wales Green Party), David Mathias (Welsh Liberal Democrats), Wayne Owen (Independent), William Jac Rees (Plaid Cymru) and Jack Robson (Welsh Conservative Party).

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