Speaking following the First Minister’s latest Coronavirus briefing, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair stated:
“We welcome the more hopeful tone struck by the First Minister today on the progress in tackling Coronavirus, brought about by the impressive efforts of frontline staff in administering the vaccine, the tireless work of the NHS in Wales as well as the sacrifices made by thousands of smaller businesses across Wales which have been asked to close their doors over recent months to reduce transmission.
“We also welcome that the First Minister was able to respond to our call to signal some hope for non-essential retail and close-contact businesses in suggesting that they may be considered for reopening as part of the next review.
“However, the outlook for hospitality and tourism businesses remains worryingly uncertain and these and many other businesses are facing difficult times and tough decisions about their futures with all the possible impact on livelihoods associated with that.
“What is needed now from Welsh Government is urgent action in three areas; firstly a commitment to an extension of the small business rates relief support for the coming year similar to that announced for businesses in Scotland this week by Scottish Government. Secondly, clear engagement with affected sectors and detailed guidance for businesses to understand what is required of them ahead of reopening to allow them to plan now, and hit the ground running when the moment to reopen comes. Thirdly, Welsh Government needs to detail as a priority, what further grant support will be available to businesses such as hospitality and tourism businesses, so impacted by this prolonged lockdown and which are in deep fear of a loss of Easter trade.
We accept these are difficult decisions for the Government to make and Welsh businesses will continue to play their part in helping Wales tackle this awful virus and its impacts. However, recovering the economy and communities in Wales will depend on our smaller businesses and so support and attention is needed now to assure that they are in a position to do that”
Media Contact: Ben Cottam – 07917 628926