Russell George MS – the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Montgomeryshire and Shadow Minister for Economy, Business, and Infrastructure – has warned that businesses and their employees in Powys are in danger of being forgotten as attention is focused on efforts to deliver a Covid vaccine and trying to ensure some continuity of education.
Mr George said that while many industry sectors have been badly hit with job losses, the impact has been acutely felt by the hospitality trade, adding:
“Powys' hospitality sector’s hotels, high-street coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs have borne the brunt of many of the lockdown restrictions to try and combat the spread of this virus.
“Despite the billions provided by HM Treasury to the Welsh Government in a bid to shore up businesses, support staff through furlough schemes, and a range of other measures; once-thriving high-streets and villages are witnessing the doors being locked for the final time on family-owned firms and big names alike, and redundancies have been made.
“It’s been a devastating time and until the virus is under control, we’re not out of the woods yet. The Welsh Government has been slow in supporting businesses, making them wait unrealistic lengths of time to be able to apply for assistance, making funding on a first-come, first-served basis, and then closing applications early.
“There is a desperate need to end the confusion and give some much-needed clarity to business.”
Mr George, who has asked the Economy Minister for an urgent statement on the subject, continued:
“While the focus must be on vaccinating people and protecting them from Coronavirus, and maintaining education for our young people, the administration here needs to do all it can to make sure that hospitality and other businesses in Mid Wales are supported sufficiently with the funds provided.
“If it doesn’t, then the opportunities for people to work, and to one day go out and enjoy themselves safely, will be massively reduced.”