The Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) – which represents hundreds of hospitality businesses across Wales – has issued ‘a desperate plea’ for the party leaders to commit to a restart grant in Wales, similar to the ones currently being distributed in England and Scotland.
In a letter addressed to each of the main party leaders in Wales, the WIRC and the Welsh Beer and Pub Association have jointly written to Mark Drakeford, Adam Price, Andrew RT Davies and Jane Dodds, stating that the independent hospitality sector is facing a black hole of uncertainty on financial support, which is leading to business closures and job losses.
The letter highlights that whilst Monday’s opening of outdoor hospitality (and the setting of May 17th for indoor opening) are hugely welcome developments, the sector has been without support since March 31st, and businesses have no idea what they may receive post-election.
The letter insists “Generic promises of overall sums for post-election business support don’t cut it. Individual businesses need a clear idea of what they are likely to receive now. Waiting until post-election will cost many livelihoods.”
Both organisations are now calling for all parties to make an immediate commitment to offer similar restart grants to those being distributed in Scotland and England.
Dan Warder of Top Joe’s Pizza in Tenby and Narberth and a founder member of WIRC, said:
“It’s hugely disappointing that we’re in a situation where financial support came to an end on March 31st, and businesses have been pretty much abandoned by Welsh Government until after the election. We desperately need party leaders to come together now, with a specific promise of support immediately after the election, so that businesses can rely on this while they take on yet more financial risk. If this fails to happen then there is no doubt that more jobs and livelihoods will be lost.”
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Welsh Beer and Pub Association said:
“The last 12 months have been terrible for Welsh pubs and brewers. Now that we can see light at the end of the tunnel, we need all the parties vying to form the next Welsh Government to urgently commit to a meaningful restart grant to help get our businesses up and running again.”