Minister urged to engage with North Wales Businesses before any future lockdowns

With a survey showing that 39% of tourism, hospitality, retail and leisure businesses in North Wales would cease trading if there were any further national or local lockdowns, MS for the region Mark Isherwood, the Shadow Minister for North Wales, has called on the Economy Minister to engage with them before making any decisions in the future.

Questioning the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates MS, in the Welsh Parliament this afternoon over the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses in North Wales, Mr Isherwood highlighted the concerning results of the survey conducted by North Wales Tourism and urged the Minister to respond to their calls for “meaningful regional and local business engagement” with him prior to decisions being made going forward.

He said:

“Last week a “Survey on the Impact of lockdowns on the Tourism, Hospitality, Retail, Leisure sectors and their supply chains in North Wales”, conducted by North Wales Tourism with support from the North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council, was published.

“Carried out over 4 days from 21st October, with 364 businesses responding from across the region, this found that 31% would be making further staff redundancies before the end of March 2021, that 39% would cease trading if there are any further National or Local Lockdowns before then, and that 81% of respondents stated that their mental health had been negatively impacted running a business under pandemic circumstances.

“How do you therefore respond to their call for meaningful regional and local business engagement with you across all sectors before any more lockdowns come – to include the outlining of the process for entering and exiting lockdowns, the evidence for the decision making, operational guidance for businesses and details of the business supports available before any lockdowns begin?”

The Minister focused his response on outlining Welsh Government support provided to businesses in North Wales during the pandemic and criticising the UK Government, and failed to answer the question put to him.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Isherwood said:

“Given the critical importance of this matter, it is extremely concerning that instead of answering my question, the Minister chose to heap self-praise on himself and criticism on others.”

ENDS

About Eirlys Jones

Eirlys is the Head of Operations at North Wales Tourism and can be contacted at eirlys.jones@nwt.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn you can also follow her on Twitter @EirlysJones5