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Welsh high streets less affected by pandemic than England’s despite stricter Covid measures, data shows

20 Jan 2022 2 minutes Read
Cardigan town. Picture by Tanya Dedyukhina (CC BY 3.0).

Welsh high streets have been less affected by the pandemic than those in England despite stricter Covid measures, according to new data.

The claim is based on card spending by British bank customers, with the data analysed at a local level by the Financial Times.

The newspaper noted that “some conclusions cut against the political conventional wisdom”.

“Scotland and Wales have done better than almost every English region despite their stricter public health measures,” they said.

“Scotland and Wales also benefited from the structures of their economies. Across Britain, less populated areas with fewer local jobs in services did better.”

All regions had seen a fall in in-person spending, but in Wales the -7% fall was smaller than in all English regions apart from the North East.

The Vale of Glamorgan was most affected in Wales, seeing a -15.8% fall in in-person sales. Meanwhile, in Dyfed in-person sales had only fallen 1.5%, and in Powys they had actually risen by 0.3%.

London was the worst-hit region of England with a 25% fall in in-person spending since March 2020.

The figures would seem to undermine some political arguments that Wales’ stricter Covid measures had a greater impact on the economy.

Yesterday during a debate about Covid-19 restrictions in the Senedd, Conservative member James Evans said that the Welsh Labour Government’s most recent restrictions had “caused untold damage to the economy of our country, as well as our vital hospitality industry, individuals, businesses and organisations, who have all been hit hard by these sets of restrictions”.

He added: “These restrictions were brought in on doomsday predictions, and all they have done is spell potential doom for the economy of our country. It is now time to learn to live with COVID, as the UK Government have set out today, as we start to return to normal.”

The biggest difference according to the Financial Times had been seen in large cities where a greater number of people had been working from home instead of commuting in and shopping in the high street.

If the current working practices stay in place, the newspaper said, the UK Government “will need to think about how to deal with high-productivity urban areas which also have hollow high streets”.


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Cath Hill
Cath Hill
4 months ago

Firstly, Cardigan town is beautiful! Haven’t been there for time, but isn’t it just gorgeous? Secondly, I would posit that this is because the people in Cymru have more confidence in the true government of Wales (the Senedd) because we have (Cymru, as a country, as a varied nation) been looked out for and been well informed by our Senedd that doesn’t (as far as I can tell) demand the people follow a set of rules that MS’s don’t. Let’s face it, with have a better kind of people in our government and they have kept us informed as they… Read more »

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
4 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

well said – it’s really just a case of believing the opposite of what the westminster government says.

Grayham Jones
4 months ago

We
Got it right in Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago

Well, this seems to fly in the face of all the rhetoric coming from the Tory’s down the bay, that our gov are ruining our economy with the way they have handled the pandemic, compared to how it has been done in England. Apology anybody? like the one demanded by the Tory party after the Doncaster Covid trip.

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
4 months ago

“despite” or “because of”?

BigPooba
BigPooba
4 months ago

Meaningless, you can’t do a like for like without the absolute figures. A % change needs context. And that’s even before getting into the source data used (‘card spending from banks’) and all the holes in that.
It could be true, but without the context and data it’s meaningless to report like this.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
4 months ago
Reply to  BigPooba

I don’t subscribe to the FT so I have no idea how they collated or analysed their info and Nation really can’t copy’n’paste the whole piece to get around the paywall.

I too prefer raw data and more information about time scales and cash to percentages which can mean anything but as long as the trends show a difference in a certain direction they have some use.

I suspect that existing poverty has the biggest effect on spending patterns. If you didn’t have much before Covid your spend wouldn’t change much if the sky fell in.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
4 months ago
Reply to  BigPooba

The numbers suggest that those in the poorest parts of the UK did not reduce their spending so much and those that had far more disposable income cut back. That matches with the wealthier Working From Home thus spending less and with the growth in personal savings among that demographic.
Still, why waste a handy cudgel when there are Tories to be bashed, eh?

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
4 months ago

Spare a thought for the Tories with this news, how it must hurt them.

Dewi Evans
Dewi Evans
4 months ago

I suspect that the tighter Welsh guidelines gave people more confidence to go out shopping. The improved figures for Wales are likely to have occurred BECAUSE of the tighter guidelines not IN SPITE of them. Sadly the Welsh Tories cannot stomach anything that is indicative of success in our country. They are mortified by the thought of anything being better here than in England. Saboteurs all.

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