I have recently listened to the concerns and aspirations of a number of small businesses based in our town centre. They mention common themes, which if given priority, could make Wrexham a much more desirable place to work & visit.
There is no doubt that rough-sleepers and people incapacitated due to substance misuse continue to be a big concern. Local Business owners feel that the Council's current strategy is simply not effective enough. They feel that they need more support from the Council and Police and that these agencies should work together and not ‘pass the buck’ of responsibility.
Too many people have reported on the heavy-handed parking enforcement and charging in Wrexham. There is a feeling that charges should be reduced, or that a scheme like "Free after 2" could be introduced, on a permanent basis, to encourage more people to visit the town centre. I support the councils proposal to introduce Free after 2, and would like to see it extended beyond its 12 month proposal. Further, a Conservative government would give every funding to impose and extend bus services, making them more frequent, with more electric vehicles which are better-integrated with other modes of transport. This will encourage more people to come into our town.
Having spoken to local business owners is clear that business rates are a real concern for business owners, that is why we will commit to real reductions in the burden of business rates on individual firms. A Welsh Conservative Government would review business rates with a particular focus on how to support small businesses. As a first step we would further lift the burden of business rates for retail businesses and exclude grassroots music venues, small cinemas, and pubs.
We will increase the Employment Allowance for small businesses – a tax cut for half a million small firms. I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure more businesses make their way to our high street.
Let's inject some energy and get our town centre moving again!