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Mark Drakeford says he ‘completely rejects’ claims by UK minister that his restrictions are damaging Wales’ economy

09 Jan 2022 2 minute read
Mark Drakeford on Sky News today

The First Minister has said that he “completely rejects” claims by UK Ministers that restrictions in Wales are damaging the nation’s economy.

Mark Drakeford was asked by Trevor Phillips on Sky News what he made of suggestions that the Welsh economy would suffer as a result of restrictions on sports and hospitality in Wales.

A number of Conservative MPs had criticised Wales’ restrictions in the House of Commons this week, with Michael Fabricant and Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones among those saying they were “damaging” and “harming” the Welsh economy.

But the First Minister said that public health and the economy could not be separated.

“I completely reject the way in which UK ministers try and play the economy off the needs of public health,” he said.

“If we don’t attend to the public health needs, the economy is simply affected in a different way.

“So we see very large numbers of people unable to be in work, not confident to go out to restaurants and shopping and so on.

“So the measures we take to protect public health are exactly the measures that protect the economy.

“Now our modelling shows that within about two weeks we will begin to pass the peak and as we come down that is when we will begin to look past the current protections.”

‘Hotspots’

The First Minister also rejected a suggestion that Wales’ restrictions were failing as “Wales currently has a higher incidence of Covid despite the restrictions”.

Comparing Wales and England’s case rates is “misleading” according to Mark Drskeford.

“Well, actually, I think it’s a misleading comparison, because there are parts f Wales that are much lower than other parts of Wales, and parts of Wales that are much lower than hotspots in England,” he said.

“So comparing the whole of Wales and the whole of Egland simply doesn’t get to where the real nub of the issue lies. We are trying to make sure that we protect Wales from the onslaught of the Omicron variant which has moved east to west, comping into Wales later than in parts of England.

“Our rates are still lower than English hotspots and we’d like to do our very best to keep it that way.”

 


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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago

Fabricant and the Pigeon Fancier Jones are both hard Brexit supporters. Just today we learn that the Tory government’s ideological refusal to be part of the Europe wide carbon trading market is costing businesses like steel an additional 10% or 8 to 9 euros per tonne of carbon.
That means business in Wales is £238.5M a year worse off on this one issue out of many just because these Tories hate Europe.

Last edited 6 months ago by Kerry Davies
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

This has been the underlying theme of the UK government’s attitude to Covid since it started – the economy first and lives second. Johnson has been slow to act and there has been unnecessary deaths as a result. At the future Covid inquiry those responsible for these deaths need to be named, shamed and punished.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Restrictions are damaging the economy but this is the trade off between “business as normal as possible” and the covid crisis/pandemic. An extreme school of thought would have said let the bug rip through our countries and the body count would be recorded as an excess deaths statistic. The other extreme would have shut everything down sine die until it could satisfy itself that Covid was no longer a threat. Society at large and politicians in particular have to strike a middle way which allows a degree of normality while inhibiting the bug. My take on the story so far… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

To be honest if the Welsh government was able to look after business better, ie – through more support from the UK treasury or within an independent country with our own revenue, pubs and other businesses would have been shut too. The Welsh government did what it could with the finances available, whereas the UK government with total fiscal control has done nothing.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

The difficulty faced is that Westminster has poured billions into the pockets of their friends. The Senedd invested £200M into “support for non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses” in January 2021. That was about the time Westminster accepted recommendations from Tory peer, Michelle Mone, to hand £203M to a company that didn’t even exist yet.

Last edited 6 months ago by Kerry Davies

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