PMQs: UK Government must act to avert spring crisis for business supply chains


Ben Lake urges PM to bring forward support package for events and hospitality sector

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson Ben Lake MP has in Prime Minister’s Questions today called on the UK Government to urgently provide support for businesses in the supply chains of the events and hospitality sector.

The MP for Ceredigion pointed out that Plaid Cymru had called on the UK Government to fill the gaps in financial support from the beginning of the pandemic, and said that “yesterday’s unemployment figures serve as a sobering reminder of the cost of the Government’s inactivity.”

Office for National Statistics data shows that between July and September 2020, unemployment in Wales rose to 4.6%, an increase of 28,000 compared with April to June.

Speaking in the House of Commons chamber, Ben Lake MP said:

“Unfortunately, we have recently seen the largest increase in Welsh unemployment for nearly 30 years.

“The Prime Minister will know that the hospitality and events sectors have been dealt a heavy blow by Covid-19. Businesses in their supply chains have been particularly affected. They have not been eligible for most of the grant support schemes, and although welcome, bounce back loans and the furlough scheme do not offer them support to cover running costs through the winter months.

“Will the Prime Minister therefore raise this matter with the Chancellor, and bring forward a package that offers these businesses hope of seeing the spring?”

Responding, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP said that the UK Government, along with local authorities and Welsh tourist authorities were looking for “ways of making sure that we keep a tourist season going throughout the tough winter months.”

Speaking after the session, Ben Lake MP said:

“For seven months, Plaid Cymru has been calling on the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to fix the gaps in financial support for businesses. From hospitality supply chains to the self-employed, thousands of businesses and individuals have been left with no support throughout the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, yesterday’s unemployment figures serve as a sobering reminder of the cost of the Government’s inactivity, as Wales saw its largest rise in rate of unemployment for decades.”

“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor must now urgently bring forward a package to support these businesses through the winter, or we will be faced with skyrocketing unemployment, a weakened supply chain, and hospitality and events will be left without any suppliers to service the sector once it gets back up and running.” 

Tracy Kirtley, the owner of Rheidol Rosettes, a business based in Ben Lake’s constituency of Ceredigion who supply rosettes for agricultural shows said: 

“It’s taken Rheidol Rosettes eighteen years to become the largest manufacturer of rosettes in Wales, now employing two full time staff and three sub-contractors. 

“In the space of one month, our income stopped, our staff have been furloughed and as owners, we are unable to take a wage, we cannot claim any benefits as we have savings so we are relying on family to support us through these austere times.

“We manufacture for many shows and events in Wales the UK and world-wide, but since Covid our orders have been non-existent, and we are now hearing of shows and events being cancelled for 2021.

“We, as a family-run business are devastated, financially and mentally and need assistance, and quickly.”


Say you're with us

Elin Jones and Ben Lake work for everyone who lives in Ceredigion. Show your support and help them in their work to ensure a better Ceredigion, today.