Plaid Cymru call on Rishi Sunak to bring back furlough amid Omicron wave
A Plaid Cymru MP has urged the Chancellor to provide urgent financial support for hospitality businesses.
The party’s Treasury spokesperson Ben Lake has said Rishi Sunak, who is currently visiting California, can no longer “stand idly by while hospitality businesses are dealt another blow” and must urgently reintroduce support measures, including lowering the rate of VAT and bringing back a form of furlough.
“Swift and decisive action” is needed, according to Ben Lake, as many businesses across Wales and the rest of the UK have reported mass cancellations in recent days, including Christmas parties.
With the Welsh Government set to announce its latest review of Covid restrictions tomorrow, the Ceredigion MP said that “UK Government should also confirm that it will reintroduce a furlough scheme for businesses in Wales if further restrictions are deemed necessary”.
Ben Lake MP said: “The impact of Omicron is already being felt by businesses throughout the hospitality industry with rising cases resulting in cancellations and staff shortages. This could not come at a worse time for the hospitality sector, and demands the urgent attention of the Chancellor.
‘Failure to act’
He added: “The UK Government’s failure to act to support an already fragile sector is utterly unsustainable. Wales, much like Scotland and Northern Ireland, is responsible for protecting our own public health, but as long as we are dependent on decisionmakers in Westminster to bring forward financial support, we cannot protect our economy to the same degree.
“The UK Government must not stand idly by while hospitality businesses are dealt another blow, and should move to reintroduce support measures – such as lowering the rate of VAT to 5% and bringing back a form of furlough – without delay.
“The UK Government should also confirm that it will reintroduce a furlough scheme for businesses in Wales if further restrictions are deemed necessary by the Welsh Government to protect public health.
“Swift and decisive action now would give businesses some certainty, safeguard jobs, and support the public health effort.”
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