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Welsh Tories urge First Minister to issue Covid roadmap like Boris Johnson

23 Feb 2021 3 minute read
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Andrew RT Davies. Pictures by Senedd Cymru (CC BY 2.0).

The Welsh Tories have called on the First Minister to urgently issue a Covid-19 roadmap like Boris Johnson has done in England.

The party’s leader in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies, has accused Mark Drakeford of refusing to provide “windows of opportunity” for many people and businesses across Wales.

However, the Welsh Government said that it didn’t want to raise people’s hopes too early.

It has pledged to follow a phased approach to sending children back to school and aims to see all pupils return by the start of the summer term in mid-April.

The First Minister has suggested allowing some self-catering accommodation to reopen in time for Easter, and that non-essential retail can begin to reopen from 15 March.

Stay at home rules could be lifted in three weeks, and hairdressers and other close contact-services may resume at the same time.

Under Johnson’s plan all legal limits on social contact could be lifted by 21 June in England subject to strict tests being met on vaccines, infection rates and new variants of coronavirus.

Boris Johnson has said that schools in England would reopen on 8 March, with shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality following on 12 April, but added that at every stage decisions would be led by “data not dates”.

‘Common framework’ 

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said: “It’s time for Labour ministers to cut out the politics by working with the UK Government to adopt a common framework on key restrictions as we move out of lockdown.

“The science on the rule of six, children’s outdoor sport or sitting on a park bench doesn’t differ between Wales and England, and it’s time to stop being different for the sake of being different when it’s achieved so little and only served to cause confusion.

“Clarity in the recovery and for people in Wales is now vital, particularly as over a third of our population live within 20 miles of the English border, and where commuting, working and socialising across Offa’s Dyke is normally such an important part of everyday life.

“Last week’s Welsh Government briefing was a missed opportunity to provide a route forward and announce greater support for business, and Mark Drakeford must now fill the void and outline a roadmap to recovery with windows of opportunity for people and businesses.

“The First Minister should move quickly and either issue a roadmap to recovery for Wales, or better still, confirm he will work with the UK Government to pursue a joined-up approach.”

According to Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, England is learning from Wales’ example on exiting from lockdown

He said that “devolution allows different parts of the UK to learn from one another”.

“I’m pleased that the UK government in England is not repeating the way it came out of the first lockdown, and is learning the lessons from Wales and Scotland in taking a staged approach,” he said.

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