As the Welsh Government announces further economic support for businesses and freelancers across Wales and local lockdowns continue for two-thirds of the population, the coronavirus pandemic will once again impact businesses in the country.
But what will economic recovery look like for Wales?
Former First Minister, Carwyn Jones, put the question to guests on the Wales Business Review podcast. He was joined by Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, Ian Price, Director of CBI Wales, Kellie Beirne, Director of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, and Robert Lloyd Griffiths, the Director of IOD Wales.
“I think business is resilient, business will get on with it. I remember Ken [Skates] saying at the start of the crisis that if you had a good business in 2019, you I’ll have a good business in 2021,” said Mr Lloyd Griffiths.
He added that, while some businesses may not make it into 2021, Business Wales has tried to provide support over the past few months to enable businesses to have a mind-set for economic recovery.
“I think the confidence of a vaccine and that things will be getting better will be an enormous positive impact on the economy. With the support of government and the public and private sector working together, there will be an opportunity for things to improve,” he continued.
“We have to do everything we can to create an environment in which businesses can prosper and thrive and take advantage of the bounce back when it comes.”
In April, the OBR forecast a 35% drop in UK GDP, however, it later forecast a 20% drop in GDP for June 2020.
“Looking back at that OBR forecast, there was a 20% drop in growth, a different order of magnitude projected 35%. I think we do have to keep an open mind and I saw last week the OECD revised its estimates for the global economy in a favourable sense,” Ms. Beirne said.
“We will continue to see impact, particularly in certain sectors, communities, individuals for some time, but I think there are some reasons to feel positive.”
Ms Beirne said that, upskilling would be critical in aiding economic recovery, for both emerging industries and those that will no longer be there in the future.
In June, Welsh Government announced a development of a comprehensive employability and skills support package. It said it will offer everyone over 16 in Wales advice and support to find work, pursue self-employment or find a place in education or training.
Mr Price pointed to the economic recovery of August, following the launch of Eat Out to Help Out and increased consumer spending, as an example of how quickly the economy could turn around.
“It shows what can be achieved when we start shifting out of this, when we have a vaccine, if we are creative and imaginative how quickly we can turn certain industries around,” Mr Price said.
“I think we have to move quickly and I think there are lessons to be learned about how we got money out the door quickly at the beginning of the crisis. We removed some of those barriers to allow us to do things in a short space of time and I think we need to approach the exit from this challenge in the same way.”