A Conservative Senedd Member has said that businesses and their employees are “in danger of being forgotten”.
He said that attention was focused on efforts to deliver a Covid vaccine and trying to ensure some continuity of education but that the industry had been badly hit with job losses.
Russell George MS, the Shadow Minister for Economy, Business, and Infrastructure, said that the impact has been acutely felt by the hospitality trade.
“The hospitality sector’s hotels, high-street coffee shops and restaurants, and pubs have borne the brunt of many of the lockdown restrictions to try and combat the spread of this virus,” he said.
“Despite the billions provided by HM Treasury to the Welsh Labour-led Government in a bid to shore up businesses, support staff through furlough schemes, and a range of other measures, once-thriving high-streets and villages are witnessing the doors being locked for the final time on family-owned firms and big names alike, and redundancies have been made.
“It’s been a devastating time and until the virus is under control, we’re not out of the woods yet. The Welsh Government has been slow in supporting businesses, making them wait unrealistic lengths of time to be able to apply for assistance, making funding on a first-come, first-served basis, and then closing applications early.
“There is a desperate need to end the confusion and give some much-needed clarity to business.”
Mr George, who has asked the Economy Minister for an urgent statement on the subject, continued:
“While the focus must be on vaccinating people and protecting them from Coronavirus, and maintaining education for our young people, the administration here needs to do all it can to make sure that hospitality and other businesses are supported sufficiently with the funds provided.
“If it doesn’t, then the opportunities for people to work, and to one day go out and enjoy themselves safely, will be massively reduced.”
Meanwhile, the First Minister said today that stricter enforcement of coronavirus rules could return to supermarkets in Wales.
Among the measures previously used was a strict limit of the numbers of people allowed in a store.
“Given the fact the new variant is so much easier to catch… we are looking at supermarkets and other places where people leave their homes, to make sure they are organised in a way that keeps their staff and customers safe,” he said.