WITH just over a week to go until polling day on 4 July, Monmouthshire’s Conservative candidate is enjoying a busy general election campaign. 

David Davies has travelled the length and breadth of the county, knocking on doors to speak to residents and attending numerous events.   

The senior Welsh Conservative was the MP for Monmouth since 2005 and is standing again in the new parliamentary seat of Monmouthshire. 

A champion of local businesses, he was delighted to celebrate the newest addition to Usk. 

Mr Davies joined Cllr Tony Kear, ward member for Llanbadoc and Usk, to officially welcome Shampooch – a pet shop and dog groomers – to Bridge Street. 

James Ralph and his partner Daniel Price opened the first Shampooch in Monmouth in 2024. They decided to launch a second location in Usk after the business grew from strength to strength. 

Cllr Kear said: “It is brilliant news that James and Dan have expanded their business Shampooch into Usk, which is a big dog loving and walking community. 

“As chair of Usk Businesses, Shops and Events Group – and as a dog owner myself – I am delighted they have chosen one of the few vacant units here. 

“The two-hour service will allow dog owners to also stay in town to enjoy many of our café and hospitality outlets, bringing more trade into Usk and our independent traders.” 

Mr Davies also visited Monmouthshire Livestock Centre near Raglan where the Welsh Labour Government’s controversial Sustainable Farming Scheme remains a sore topic of conversation. 

He said: “Farmers remain extremely concerned that this deeply unpopular scheme, which has been delayed by a year, doesn’t come back in its current form. 

“There is a lot of unease too among the agricultural community about the Labour Party’s refusal to rule out any changes to inheritance tax that would make it hard for family farms to be handed down to sons and daughters. 

At a meeting of Monmouth Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday (18 June) Mr Davies was able to hear from members of the business community as they questioned the deputy leader of Labour-run Monmouthshire County Council and town councillors. 

He said there was “near unanimous agreement” that free parking should be made available while the “perfect storm” of Welsh Water’s network upgrades and roadworks continues to push shoppers elsewhere. 

“My colleague Jane Lucas has been very vocal in supporting my call for free parking because of the disruption to traders. So far, Labour has not agreed,” said Mr Davies. 

“However, deputy leader Paul Griffiths was made well aware of the problems facing our beleaguered businesses and indicated the council might reconsider." 

Finally, Mr Davies has been raising the importance of the Haberdashers’ Monmouth schools to the economy of the town. 

It comes as the Labour Party manifesto pledges to end private schools’ VAT exemption and business rate relief – although it is not clear whether charitable status will also be removed. 

Mr Davies said: “Monmouth School for Boys has been serving the town since 1614. With the addition of the girls’ school in 1892, the Haberdashers’ family has a proud history. Today, the schools support 580 jobs locally and generate £17m to the economy. 

“But if Labour wins the general election, there are plans afoot to charge parents 20 per cent VAT on independent school fees. This would have a significant impact on the whole community – pupils and parents, colleagues in the state sector and the wider economy. 

“Not only would VAT inevitably threaten the future of independent schools like Haberdashers’, it would also place an unfair burden on local education authorities like Monmouthshire if hundreds of pupils suddenly require state school places.”