Love local businesses – they’re the lifeblood of our local economy

 

Welsh Labour’s Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Riaz Hassan, recently met with the Federation of Small Businesses Cymru at their invitation.

Riaz said: “I was really pleased to meet FSB Cymru.  I know just how important small and medium sized businesses are to West Wales and I am always keen to be updated on key issues facing the sector.

 

“We talked around Covid-19 and Brexit and ways to mitigate both.  The FSB has spoken to 2,500 businesses and this is what they said.   There needs to be renewed emphasis on growth in our rural counties.  Remote working, particularly in light of Covid, will become the new normal and we must be ready for it.  This chimes perfectly with findings from my own campaign, where local people and businesses have been telling me they want to both live and work here - improving the economic base while strengthening local communities across the constituency.

 

“The Welsh Labour led government is a partner in the Superfast Cymru project bringing high speed broadband access to homes and businesses in Wales that could not otherwise have got it through the private sector.  This is what I want – practical solutions that stop households and businesses falling through the digital net.

 

“Where people want or need to work outside the home, Welsh Labour will be looking at solutions that avoid long commutes.  Co-working spaces or hubs co-located within town centres will support regeneration and economic activity and underpin our Town Centre First approach.

 

“The FSB is keen to see better links between businesses and schools and I believe that the new school curriculum will provide greater flexibility for the local schools to strengthen these links further.  Young people need experience of the world of work so that they will be confident and productive going into their first job.  It’s an invaluable part of their education and I support greater emphasis going forward.

 

“Looking to the future, we need to think outside the box, for sure.  But we also need to take a fresh look at what we already have in our toolbox.  I am championing the move to more small business-friendly public procurement.  Occasionally new concepts crop up which are pure common sense.  A recent example is the foundational economy.  I think it could make a big difference to how we do business – helping small and local business activity.  It makes sense for local businesses, and it keeps money circulating in our local areas.

 

“At this most difficult time, though, our businesses still need extra help, and I am thankful to the Welsh Government that they have already committed themselves to a small business rates freeze until 2022.  Last week First Minister Mark Drakeford announced an extra £150 million for businesses affected by ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in Wales. The Welsh Labour Government continues providing the most generous package of business support anywhere in the UK.”