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