Posted: Mon 6th Jul 2020

Updated: Mon 6th Jul

A view from Wrexham’s Member of the Senedd for people living in or visiting the wrexham area has invited Wrexham & Clwyd South Members of Parliament and Members of the Senedd to write a monthly article with updates on their work in Parliament and the Senedd, and closer to home. (You can view an archive here).

Wrexham MS Lesley Griffiths writes…

Although more lockdown restrictions are starting to relax, the recent outbreak at Rowan Foods is a stark reminder coronavirus has not gone away. It is clearly a matter of concern and I remain in close contact with the authorities, including the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, the Food Standards Agency, trade unions and Rowan Foods themselves. There is an amount of misinformation circulating and I urge all the relevant parties to work together for the good of the community. It remains vitally important people continue to observe social distancing guidance – if you have symptoms, you must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 7 days.

Nevertheless, for many aspects of daily life, we are moving into the amber phase of the Welsh Government’s traffic light system. The only reason this has happened is because of the actions everyone in Wales has taken to date in complying with the regulations. As well as schools, non-essential retail businesses have reopened. Whilst it is positive we tiptoe towards some sort of normality, I am aware simply reopening facilities is not enough and measures must be implemented to inspire public confidence.

In the past month, I’ve twice met virtually with Wrexham’s Town Centre Forum. The platform has enabled a number of local businesses and organisations to express their views and ideas. Providing hand sanitisers, improving signage and introducing one-way systems around the town are some of the options that have since been brought forward. After such a difficult period, I believe we’ve really got to make the most of these next few months before winter comes.

So far throughout this pandemic, the Welsh Government has provided £1.7 billion to support businesses, making it the most generous and comprehensive package of support in the UK.

A further lifeline was offered to newer businesses set up after 31 March 2019. Many of these start-up firms did not qualify for the UK Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) so the Welsh Government has acted decisively to help ensure Welsh businesses can continue to trade through the pandemic.

The scheme launched the same day as the second phase of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF). In just 24 hours after reopening last Monday (29 June), 190 micro businesses were offered more than £1.9 million of funding between them. Both the start-up scheme and ERF are unique to Wales and if there are any Wrexham businesses that believe they are entitled to support, I would urge them to visit the Business Wales website immediately.

Wrexham fans will welcome the news that the Welsh Government has secured the land adjacent to the Kop. It’s no secret this plot is of critical importance to the Racecourse Stadium and Wrexham AFC. By purchasing the land, the Welsh Government has safeguarded the area for any potential future redevelopment. It ties in with the vision for the Wrexham Gateway Project. Working in partnership with the football club, Wrexham Council and Glyndwr University, the Welsh Government is leading the project that will regenerate the area of the town centred around the Mold Road and Wrexham General Station.

With regards to Wrexham AFC’s immediate future, I have met virtually with directors to discuss the challenges the club is facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic. At present, there is no concrete information coming from the National League as to when football can restart, which clearly places the club in an uneasy position. I have written to the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, to request Welsh Government officials contact the club to talk through their concerns and to see what support can be provided.

Finally, in my role as the Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs, I am continuing to help coordinate the Welsh Government’s response to the pandemic, as well as meeting several times a day with colleagues and counterparts from Wales and across the UK. I recently launched a new campaign – #LoveWalesLoveTaste – that aims to encourage people to continue to support Welsh producers and retailers by buying Welsh food and drink products, either in shops or online.

This column will be published at the beginning of a significant week with the Welsh Government lifting the “stay local” guidance, as well as enabling two separate households to form an extended household. The next Welsh Government review also takes place on 9 July and further lockdown easements are expected to be announced.

Thanks to the efforts we have all taken, the number of coronavirus cases is declining. However, the local outbreak at Rowan Foods demonstrates Covid-19 has not disappeared. We must continue to tread a cautious path as adopting a cavalier approach now would have a detrimental effect.

 has invited Wrexham & Clwyd South Members of Parliament and Members of the Senedd to write a monthly article with updates on their work in Parliament and the Senedd, and closer to home. (You can view an archive here).


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