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Federation of Independent Retailers says more needed to be done to support smaller businesses in Wales

Posted on in Business News

Whilst it has welcomed some elements of the Welsh Retail Action plan, the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) said more is needed to be done to support smaller businesses.

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The Fed claimed that the extension of business rate relief through 2023 and 2024; the creation of a new scheme to support those facing an increase in rate liability; and provision of non-domestic rate relief of up to 75%, were positive steps.

However, it stated that the intended increased support for retail workers seemed to benefit bigger businesses, such as the supermarket chains, and raised the question of how the government would help smaller independents with staff development.

The Fed’s National President Jason Birks said: “While it is good to see that the retail action plan recognises the important contribution that smaller retailers make to the economy and local communities, we feel it doesn’t offer much in the way of assurances to those businesses.

“We believe our organisation should have a seat on the Wales Retail Forum so that the issues affecting our members, many of whom are newsagents and local convenience stores, are taken into serious consideration.

“Retail crime continues to be an area of major concern for our members, with shoplifting, physical and verbal abuse faced by many on a daily basis.

“While we fully support initiatives such as the ‘Be Kind’ campaign and appreciate the government looking out for retail workers, it needs to look at the root causes of this rise of abuse and how to reduce it through the establishment of business crime partnerships and initiatives.

“The retail action plan forms a good basis of ideas, but more communication is needed on the timescale of the rollout and details of the plan, and how the Welsh government and the Wales Retail Forum intend to meet their goals.”

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