The self-employed are the “backbone of the Welsh economy” and Plaid Cymru intend to attract as many people who work for themselves as possible, by giving Wales the power to set its own tax rates and reform regressive business rate systems.
According to ONS data, there were 176,300 self-employed people operating in Wales at the end of 2016. One-in-five new jobs created in Wales since 2010 were self-employed. However, this growth was less prominent than UK-wide figures where self-employment accounted for 32 per cent of all new jobs.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the Welsh economy and Plaid Cymru wants to attract as many of them to Wales as possible,” Jonathan Edwards, Treasury Spokesperson and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, told IPSE.
“We would do this by pushing for targeted tax discounts for new and existing businesses as part of a new UK Regional Policy. We will also demand Wales has the power to set its own rates of tax, including VAT, R&D tax credits, employers’ National Insurance Contributions and the Patent Box – to help make Wales a more attractive place for enterprise, job-creation and investment.
“We will also pass a Regulatory Reform Act to lower the bureaucratic burden on business.
“Small businesses are often burdened with a regressive business rate system. We will put an end to this by moving towards a turnover-based system.”
Plaid, who won three seats at the 2015 general election, said too many budding entrepreneurs were failing because they weren’t given the necessary support to thrive.
Self-employment comes with inherent risks and volatility which must be negated to make Wales an attractive destination for those with aspirations of branching out on their own, according to Edwards.
To do so, Plaid will call on private sector bodies to help improve business networks so that small business can continue to be the backbone of the Welsh economy. Brexit, meanwhile, must prove no barrier to trade within the EU.
“Entrepreneurs fail far too often because they are not given the necessary support to thrive,” Edwards continued.
“We will involve the private sector and its representative bodies in providing business support and advice aimed at small businesses with less than 10 employees, by strengthening the current Business Wales network.
“Our message to the UK Government on Brexit is simple – there can be no barriers to trade with the EU. By electing a strong team of Plaid Cymru MPs, Welsh business people can rest assured that their interests will be defended at all times.”