Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Conservatives debate

Conservative AM Suzy Davies stressed the important role of the Welsh high street as "a centre for community engagement" whilst leading her party's debate on 14 November 2012.

The Mid and West Wales AM called for business rate relief to support enterprise and stimulate economic growth in order to "revitalise the empty high streets".

Ms Davies presented the Conservative paper, 'A Vision for the Welsh High Street' , to the assembly as she called on the government to publish a response detailing how they will incorporate their proposals into their on-going regeneration review.

Speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, Eluned Parrott AM argued that high streets "are not in a state of irreversible decline".

She cited Cowbridge as an example of a thriving high street which had survived against the challenges presented by out-of-town centre and on-line shopping.

High street retailers can benefit from new shopping trends according to Ms Parrott as "the internet can be a real opportunity for smaller businesses who do not have a large catchment area".

Whilst he welcomed everyone's agreement to regenerate town centres, Arfon AM Alun Ffred Jones called on the government "to take real steps in terms of addressing the challenge."

Responding to the debate, Minister for Regeneration Huw Lewis stressed the Welsh government's commitment to regenerating town and cities as he argued that the 'Vibrant & Viable Places' document offered a strong focus on town centre regeneration.

He also outlined the investment to date in struggling town centres through European funding.

The motion as amended was agreed.

Read this in Welsh.

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