Welsh high street vacancy rates “still in freefall”, says Russell George AM
A study by the Welsh Retail Consortium has today revealed that while visits to Welsh high streets are on the up, shop vacancy rates rose to 11.9% from 11.0% in April.
Responding to the report, Russell George AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for the Economy, said:
“While the modest increase in visitors to Wales’ shops is encouraging, the report also confirms the continuation of a worrying trend for Wales’ high streets.
“With shop vacancy rates still in freefall, the Welsh Government must use all the devolved levers available to them to reverse this trend.
“One of the biggest financial strains on businesses are business rates.
“The UK Government has brought in changes to support small businesses in England, and the Labour-led government in Wales must now come forward to do the same, as currently Welsh businesses are at a competitive disadvantage.
“Another issue blighting our high streets is the lack of free parking. People should not be penalised with gratuitous charges for wanting to spend money in these under-threat areas.
“Poor parking, facilities, high charges, congestion and inadequate public transport links all serve to deter consumers from the high street.
“Welsh Conservatives believe that free parking is key to high street revival. Flexible parking schemes will encourage shoppers back into town centres.”