A report by Wales’ Auditor General has found one-in-seven high street shops lie empty, prompting calls for action by the Welsh Labour Government.
Reasons for the decline of the high street have been attributed, by Adrian Crompton, to changing consumer habits and expectations, advances in technology, past policy choices, and measures taken to counter the spread of coronavirus.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Economy Minister Paul Davies MS said: “It is a sad fact that the traditional high street has been struggling over the last few years as we change the way we shop, but this report is a much welcomed wake-up call for those with the ability to put change in motion.
“Politicians of all hues are constantly trying to keep banks and cash machines in our towns, for example, but it’s just as important to address what can be done for the future to aid our economic recovery and support jobs.
“Measures such as scrapping car parking fees, abolishing rates for small businesses, and introducing job support schemes to help micro businesses grow are other proposals we hope the Welsh Government look at, in addition to the British Government’s Community Renewal Fund.
“However, it is undeniable that the pandemic has played a part in harming the high street. Given the distinct actions of the Welsh Labour Government to counter coronavirus and their effect on the economy, this only further demonstrates the need for a Wales-specific Covid inquiry.”