Commenting on the debate on the Welsh Government budget which was held in plenary today, Head of the WRC Sara Jones said:

“There is much in this budget that the retail industry can support, especially the measures on transport, housing and skills. As Wales’s largest private sector employer the retail industry would however have liked to have seen a stronger emphasis on policies which keep down the cost of doing business and encourage retail investment which would provide vital jobs our growth within our communities.

"Given the uncertainty that businesses are facing in relation to operating in a post-Brexit landscape, our members would have wished to see progress and clarity around the levers available to the Welsh Government which could help support retailer confidence in Wales.

"Whilst we welcome the support outlined for small businesses through the extension of the Small Business Rates Relief scheme we would call for a more expedient approach to business rate reform to ensure that all businesses have the incentive to invest further.

"The Welsh Government has committed to creating 100,000 all-age apprenticeships, and it’s clear the retail industry already plays a key role in delivering on this agenda.  We require certainty from the Welsh Government and a commitment that the retail industry, Wales’s largest private sector employer, won’t lose out from when it comes to the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy in Wales.  Any policy decision which restricts or deprives Levy-payers’ ability to draw down funding would be bad for the retail industry and bad for Wales”.