With tourism hotspots like Llandudno, Conwy and Betws-y-Coed within its boundaries it’s not hard to see why the county of Conwy has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Tourism, retail and hospitality are vital sectors in the area and these same industries have been the worst hit by Covid-19.
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders highlighted a report from the RSA that showed that 31% of jobs are at risk in the county.
She is holding digital forums with people in the sectors affected and this week again raised the issue of additional support in the Senedd.
Addressing Finance minister Rebecca Evans, she said: “It has been made clear to me by many in the tourism sector, including in my hoteliers forum, that grants to date by this Welsh Government have ‘barely touched the surface’, their words, not mine.
“And that they, as business owners, feel demoralised and actually hard done to by your Welsh Government.
“Now, there are numerous steps you can take to help back our tourism industry now. Work with your colleagues and local authorities to see costs, such as parking permits, wedding and drink licences waived; give certainty to businesses by ending the fallacy that the tier system is a natural recovery plan.”
She later added: “Approximately 31% of jobs remain in peril across the Conwy County Borough and our area has the highest percentage of employees who rely on this at-risk sector for their income in North Wales.
“More certainty is required, with local businesses needing to know now if they can open by Easter so as to start planning staff recruitment, organise supplies, and accept bookings. There is no crystal ball, but collaborative working with the industry will ensure that they are not left out in the cold.”
She also raised the issue of unallocated funding in the Welsh Government budget raised in a report by the Wales Fiscal Analysis team.
This noted £655m of available Covid-19 funding for the health service, public sector and businesses left to allocate but added grants and reliefs to businesses in Wales (approximately £2.3bn) now “far exceeds” the funding flowing from business support in England.
In response Finance minister Rebecca Evans said: “Well, let’s be under no illusion that Wales Fiscal Analysis have also noted that the Welsh Government has distributed more money to businesses across Wales than we’ve received from the UK Government in consequentials.
“And that means that the package of support that we have on offer for businesses here in Wales is the most generous across the UK.
“A typical hospitality business in Wales with the equivalent of six full-time staff could have been eligible to receive between £12,000 and £14,000 to help them through the period of restrictions and into the new year.
“And that does compare very favourably with the UK Government, when £9,000 is the highest award and that’s given to those with a rateable value over £51,000.
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“So, it’s very clear that we do have the most generous package of support anywhere in the UK.
“That’s not to say that we take any of this for granted and that we’re resting on our laurels. We’re constantly exploring what more we can do to support businesses.
“And with regard to the additional funding yet to be allocated, I will be, of course, publishing our third supplementary budget very shortly, and that will set out a whole range of allocations right across the Welsh Government portfolios in order to help us respond to the coronavirus outbreak.”
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