Adam Price urges Senedd recall to boost Covid business support until after the election
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has written to the First Minister asking for the Senedd to be recalled so that they can agree to further financial support for businesses.
He said that the current £180m business support was only supposed to last until the end of March but how now been extended beyond May’s election.
In a letter to First Minister Mark Drakeford, Adam Price said that despite rules on announcing public spending during the election period, this should be done at a time of national emergency,
“Recalling the Senedd to get cash out of the door and into the dwindling accounts of Welsh businesses should be a matter of priority,” he said.
“I therefore ask that you exercise your power under Standing Order 12.3 to request that the Presiding Officer recalls the Senedd to consider this matter on the grounds of its significant public importance.
“I will also share a copy of this letter with the Llywydd and Leader of the Conservative Senedd group.”
The Welsh Conservatives are also calling for extra funding to be announced, after the Welsh Government confirmed today that non-essential retail and all other close contact services will not reopen until 12th April. Pubs and restaurants will not reopen outdoors on 26 April.
Adam Price said that it remained the case however “that many businesses will be closed for many more weeks at a critically important point in the holiday season”.
“£180m of business support was announced on March 3rd, contingent on restrictions continuing which was confirmed the following week,” he said.
“The accompanying Welsh Government press release contained a quote from the Chief Executive of UK Hospitality which explicitly referenced the support as being until ‘the end of March’.
“Indeed, the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective has pointed out that your own Government’s website referred to current funding being to “help businesses with their costs up to 31 March 2021”, only for this to be substituted last Friday with the words ‘until after the election’.
“The business sector quite rightly expected a further tranche of financial support through April and May and many feel let down and left behind having learnt that the business restriction fund is only being extended in its duration, not in the amount of funding available.
“Whilst Government Ministers must adhere to guidance on public spending during the election period, that should not hinder the ability of elected Members to agree to further financial support for businesses at a time of national crisis given the ongoing public health emergency.”