Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans will explore opportunities to maintain a sustainable retail sector in Wales when she meets with the Welsh Retail Consortium today.

First published:
18 September 2019
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With recent reports indicating an increase in chain store closures, the Minister welcomes the opportunity to hear the concerns of the Welsh Retail Consortium and discuss ways the Welsh Government can best use its resources to help.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Rebecca Evans said:

We recognise the importance of a healthy retail sector in Wales, particularly in times of such economic uncertainty. To help ease this pressure we have enhanced our rates relief with an extra £23.6 million for retailers on the high street and extended this to retailers in other locations. We have also provided an extra £2.4 million to local authorities to provide discretionary relief. This is addition to our small business rates relief scheme which provides over £100 million of support each year.

However, non-domestic rates are not a cure-all for the challenges facing town centres which reflect much more fundamental changes in the retail sector and in our shopping and leisure habits.

Responding to last week’s calls on the Welsh Government to help revitalise high streets by allocating some of the funds announced as part of the recent Spending Round, the minister said:

The Chancellor’s latest spending announcements do not make up for nearly a decade of cuts. The reality is our budget in 2020-21 will still be 2% lower in real terms than in 2010-11.

But despite tough economic times supporting town centres and high streets remains the cornerstone of our regeneration activities. We are fully committed to the delivery of priority regeneration projects across all regions of Wales - by the time our current programmes are complete we will have invested £800 million into town centres and nearby areas across Wales since 2014.