Welsh Affairs Committee launches new inquiry into the Welsh economy and Covid-19
24 April 2020
The Welsh Affairs Committee launches an inquiry into the economic consequences for Wales of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the short and longer-term support necessary to rebuild the Welsh economy following the end of the crisis.
The World is grappling with the fallout of one of the worst pandemics in living memory. Coronavirus took its first confirmed victim in Wales on 16 March. By 30 March this number had risen to 109, and then increased almost five-fold over the following two weeks. Meanwhile to prevent the virus' spread and protect lives restrictions on the movement of people as the economy grinds to a halt. Concerns have been raised about how the Welsh economy, heavily reliant on seasonal economy, survives and recovers perhaps in the presence of continuing emergency restrictions.
The inquiry will explore the economic landscape in Wales both during and after the pandemic. In doing so, it will look at the most appropriate exit strategy for Wales from the emergency measures, the support businesses and individuals will need to survive the crisis and to rebuild afterwards, and the lessons that can be learnt from this pandemic in the event of future crises. Within this context, the inquiry will also explore how effectively the two Governments have worked together to support the Welsh economy and the lessons that can be learnt for the future.
The Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, Chair of the Committee said:
"The Coronavirus emergency is already having a profound impact on the Welsh economy with many companies temporarily closed and hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed. Meanwhile, frontline NHS staff and the wider Welsh public are part of a remarkable national effort to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
As the UK and Welsh Governments continue to develop their policies for supporting businesses and families through this crisis, it is right to examine the effectiveness of their joint and individual efforts. Therefore the activity of the Welsh Affairs Committee at this time will focus on the Coronavirus response in Wales and what will be required to revive the Welsh economy when lockdown restrictions are eased.
This is the most challenging period for Wales since the establishment of devolved government. There has never been a more important test for the UK-Wales relationship."
Terms of Reference
The Committee invites written evidence submissions addressing the following points via the Committee's website until Friday 15 May 2020:
- Does there need to be a UK-wide progressive lifting of restrictions or will Wales need its own plan for easing the constraints on business and the public?
- Would there be any benefits from Wales having its own plan for easing lockdown restrictions, separate from the rest of the UK and how feasible would it be to have such a plan?
- What additional flexibility is needed to support seasonal industries, such as tourism and agriculture, during the pandemic?
- What additional financial support does the Welsh economy require in order to survive during the pandemic and to recover afterwards?
- How effectively are the UK and Welsh Governments working together in ensuring sufficient support is provided to the Welsh economy during, and after, the pandemic?
- What additional financial powers and budgetary flexibility should be provided to the Welsh Government in response to the pandemic?
- What support is needed from the banking sector to support businesses and organisations during the pandemic and the reconstruction period that will follow?
- What support do key sections of the population, including the elderly and the newly unemployed, need from the UK and Welsh Governments during and after the pandemic?
- What work can be done to make the Welsh economy more resilient in the face of future crises and potential outbreaks of Covid-19 and other pandemics?
- How will supply chains need to evolve after this pandemic and how can the two governments work together to support these changes?
- What lessons can be learnt from the pandemic and from the response of other countries for the future of the Welsh economy?