Column for the Barry & District News by Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
Recent press headlines have highlighted Barry’s growing popularity, with many people recognising the area as a ‘hotspot’ and an attractive place to live, work and visit.
This is a clear demonstration that Barry is finally receiving the recognition and investment it deserves, which I have been working hard to encourage and deliver since 2010. It’s inspiring that an increasing number of people are now excited to come here. This is a result of successful regeneration of Barry Island, the benefits of exciting businesses like Aston Martin setting up in the area, and the significant boost that scrapping the tolls has had on the Welsh economy. There are significant opportunities ahead for Barry and I look forward to continuing to do all that I can to ensure that we take full advantage of them.
At the weekend we celebrated High Street Saturday, a campaign day to display the huge importance of our high streets and the independent traders that make them so special. I recognise that one of the best way to support our independent traders in Barry, on High Street and Holton Road, is to assist with their business rates.
That’s why I have regularly spoken about my disappointment that the Welsh Government has failed to offer Welsh businesses the same support given by the UK Government. I have been contacted by businesses in Barry who are disappointed that the Welsh Government has increased the multiplier used to calculate business rates, from 0.514 last year to 0.526 this year, which is a big difference compared to the 0.48 that the UK Government uses. This means that businesses in England pay less than businesses in Wales, even before the UK Government’s more generous rate relief is factored in.
I am again raising this issue with the Welsh Government, asking them to change course, on behalf of our hardworking independent traders in Barry. By helping small businesses we can make sure that Barry can continue to grow and create more opportunities for local people.