Wales election manifestos 2021 – what’s in them for small businesses?

Ahead of the elections on May 6, we give you a summary of the pledges being made for small businesses by each political party in Wales

With elections coming up on May 6, we’re taking a closer look at the manifestos to help you decide who to vote for.

For those of you in Wales, here is a round-up of the election pledges of each party that are geared towards small business owners.


  • Masterplans will be drawn up for towns and high streets, including a register of empty buildings and small businesses given help to move into empty shops
  • Protect more than 165,000 jobs by providing the most generous business support scheme in the UK
  • Use the £500m Wales Flexible Investment Fund to support economic recovery and expand the Development Bank of Wales’ patient capital funds to provide long-term lending to small and medium sized enterprises, entrepreneurs and start-ups. Increase the use of equity stakes in business support. Secure the creation of a Community Bank for Wales, supporting its growth so it has 30 branches across Wales over the next decade
  • Develop a Backing Local Firms Fund to support local businesses. Provide greater support for worker buyouts and, with the cooperative sector, seek to double the number of employee-owned businesses
  • Change the way people work, rather than commuting to the office every day, will seek a 30 per cent target for working remotely to achieve a better work-life balance. Develop new remote working hubs in communities, increasing footfall and creating new opportunities in town centres
  • Support Welsh businesses to find new export markets and create new jobs
  • Create 125,000 all-age apprenticeships during the next Senedd term. Work with unions and employers to expand the use of shared and degree apprenticeships to give people more flexible routes into training and a career


  • The manifesto promises a ‘Covid-bounce back’ package, including a £2.5bn investment fund and maintaining the cut to 5 per cent on VAT for tourism businesses until April 2022
  • Establish the ‘Innovate Wales’ business development agency in north Wales
  • Abolish business rates for small firms
  • Give Welsh firms priority for Government contracts
  • Urgently review and start funding businesses immediately based on need
  • Support new micro businesses with ‘Jump Start Scheme’, paying the employer National Insurance
    Contributions of two new employees for two years to accelerate growth
  • Establish ‘Innovate Wales’, based in North Wales, a one stop shop for firms to support new enterprises and encourage existing businesses to grow and export
  • Create Business Rate Free Zones providing a three-year business rate holiday for SMEs as part of Covid Community Recovery Fund
  • Support Welsh firms to bounce back from the pandemic by giving them priority for Government contracts by proactively promoting opportunities, particularly to micro and small businesses
  • Support rural businesses and enable more people to work from home by eliminating mobile phone and broadband black spots through removing barriers to network improvements and creating a £50m Not-Spot Fund
  • Provide 150,000 apprenticeships by 2026

Plaid Cymru

  • Zero interest loans to support small businesses to bounce back post-Covid
  • Super-fast broadband will be available to every property and business in Wales
  • Expand the role of the Development Bank of Wales and support the creation of a Community Bank to help domestically owned businesses grow their market share
  • Develop a strategy to scale-up existing businesses with high growth potential
  • Introduce a business succession programme and appropriate financial support to retain Welsh ownership of successful firms, with a special focus in expanding the number of employee-owned businesses
  • Develop public distribution systems so small and medium-sized businesses no longer find themselves blocked from market access (where this is monopolised by supermarkets, big retailers and online platforms like Amazon or Uber) and can sell directly to consumers
  • Establish a Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Strategy including long term loans at zero interest with long repayment holidays, restart loans, repayment and recovery loans and new deals for early stage and growth companies
  • Invest in a new Community Bank to help small business and return local banking services to customers in the many communities in Wales which have lost their local banks

Liberal Democrats

  • Make funding available to invest in digital connectivity, bring buildings back into use, to invest in infrastructure, and create accessible and welcoming places to visit that support jobs, businesses, and workers
  • Create a £500m fund to help high streets, town and city centres, and support small businesses across Wales thrive and adapt
  • Work to remove the barriers that businesses in Wales now face to trading with European markets
  • Freeze business rates for the life of the next Senedd and in the long-term, replace business rates with a fairer, more supportive system
  • Invest in broadband and mobile phone connectivity to enable businesses to better compete online, including providing training and support to enable businesses transition to a new ‘virtual high street’
  • Develop a long-term plan to support businesses and enable small businesses to grow, including establishing an Economic Recovery Council, grounded in real experience and voices of small businesses across Wales
  • Pass a People’s Procurement Act, requiring local authorities to commission small local businesses and supply chains as a priority, whilst making other rules more flexible giving greater scope to invest in longer-term contracts
  • Ensure that in the next five years at least 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Wales have access to full fibre broadband


Propel has a Contract with Wales instead of a conventional manifesto. The following pledges appear:

  • Create eight co-operative community banks, with a primary focus on investing in existing and new small and medium-sized local businesses
  • Reindustrialise Wales for the 21st Century through emphasis on developing high-tech, sustainable manufacturing for export
  • A new public procurement strategy will be adopted to move towards 100 per cent of public spending being awarded to Welsh companies

Reform UK (formerly The Brexit Party)

Reform UK  has a Contract with the People of Wales:

  • The party would also abolish business rates for small and medium firms, would introduce internet sales tax
  • Support local businesses to open in high street premises so that they can establish themselves
  • Free up 1.2m small businesses and self-employed from paying corporation tax


  • Make it easier to regenerate high streets and communities with a mix of low rent and rates for existing small businesses and social and environmental start-ups to fill empty shops and bring back life to our high streets
  • Develop new innovative funds and local banks such as Banc Cambria, and social lenders to support social and environmental start-ups and the transitioning of existing industries
  • Support essential hardware, software and bandwidth at affordable cost for easier business and personal communication and local hubs linked to libraries and community settings

Read more

Covid-19 roadmap – when can I reopen my small business in Wales?

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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