WNP leader, Neil McEvoy MS introduced the amendment to The Economy and Covid-19 Debate in the Senedd today.
It calls for the Welsh Government to protect businesses by taking immediate action on the Covid-19 business rate relief and supporting those in the hospitality sector who are being currently charged full rent during lockdown.
Commenting shortly before the debate, Neil McEvoy MS said:
“We have to stop landlords treating businesses badly. It’s happening far too often. In my own constituency a dance studio that caters for 120 children have still not received relief funds that should be owed to them. It’s outrageous. The landlord in question is no less an employee of the First Minister, you couldn’t make it up!
“I’m also very concerned for the hospitality sector, where companies such as pubs are being charged full rent despite being forcibly closed during the pandemic. I would like the Government to step up to the plate and support these businesses.
The amendment also provides solutions to help kick-start the Welsh economy in the midst of the crisis by ensuring the procurement of Welsh companies in public sector contracts and the establishment of a fully fledged Welsh whisky industry in a bid to create an export-led recovery.
“Public sector contracts must go to Welsh companies. If we re-directed a large percentage of contracts to Welsh firms, we would create up to 80,000 jobs. In the future we must make sure that if a Welsh company doesn’t get a contract from the Government, there has to be a good reason why.”
“We need to urgently invest in our food and drink sector; Wales has an abundance of high quality products, let’s take advantage of that.
“A whisky industry in Wales is totally do-able. We are the only Celtic nation without one. The worldwide market is so lucrative that if we invested now, within 5 years we would have a £100m export industry.”
“Of course those are just two suggestions for boosting our economy, but they’re easy wins with massive potential and we should take them.”
Amendment as follows:
In order to rebuild Wales economically as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, calls on the Welsh Government to:
a) ensure that the Covid-19 business rate relief scheme supports businesses occupying premises and not landlords who own the premises;
b) provide support for those in the hospitality industry being charged full rent by pub companies during the crisis;
c) legislate to enable Welsh companies to successfully bid for Welsh public sector contracts; and
d) orientate its economic policy toward a food and drink export-led recovery by creating a fully fledged whisky industry.