On 19 December 2021, Harry Thompson was invited to discuss the impact of restrictions on hospitality businesses in Wales in the aftermath of the new surge of Covid-19 cases. In his intervention, he raised the issue of the Welsh government’s borrowing powers, and of the need for action to counter the worst effect of the new Omicron variant on the Welsh hospitality sector:
“It’s almost certain businesses in Wales will need further financial support. Especially if restrictions are widened to other industries or if hospitality businesses are forced to close entirely. The problem the Welsh Government has in these situations is that it doesn’t have the necessary borrowing powers. It has a set amount of money from the taxes it raises and the block grant it gets from the UK Government. £60m is going to support these businesses for a matter of weeks, not months, and after that the UK Government is going to have to step in with a furlough scheme.”
You can watch the full programme on the BBC iPlayer.