Plaid plan to recall Senedd ‘unnecessary’ says RT Davies as he calls for Drakeford to act on business support
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has rejected a Plaid Cymru plan to recall the Senedd so that the parties can decide on additional business support.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price wrote to the First Minister yesterday asking for the Senedd to be recalled so that they can agree to further financial support for businesses.
However, Andrew RT Davies said a recall was unnecessary due to the “widespread dismay at the decision across all political groups”.
He instead called on the First Minister to work with political leaders to ensure additional support is made available to businesses in April.
Opposition parties say the current £180m Covid business support was only supposed to last until the end of March but how now been extended beyond May’s election.
“Recalling the Senedd to get cash out of the door and into the dwindling accounts of Welsh businesses should be a matter of priority,” Adam Price said yesterday.
The Conservatives agreed that the Welsh Government had “moved the goalposts” and businesses had been led to believe there would be additional support provided for firms during April.
But they said that they believed “a recall of the Senedd is unnecessary due to the widespread dismay at the decision across all political groups”.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: “There has been understandable dismay and anger at the decision by Labour ministers to move the goalposts and cut off business support in April.
“Welsh Conservatives have already announced we’d backdate support after May’s election, and I believe there is widespread agreement in this area across the political spectrum.
“As leaders we meet on a regular basis to discuss the pandemic, and I believe this issue should be tackled in the same vein, with an arrangement found to provide the necessary support for firms to help them survive and restart at the end of April.
“I accept that the civil service and government will be mindful of purdah, but people’s livelihoods in Wales are far more important than political egos or Senedd elections.
“On this vital issue, let’s work together and get this done so we can save Welsh jobs and help firms bounce back after coronavirus.”
In his letter to the First Minister yesterday Adam Price had said 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.”