IoD Wales National Director, Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Responds to The Prime Minister’s announcement.
Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director of IoD Wales said: “Directors know that the battle with this virus is far from over, and they want to play their part in preventing a second wave, which would extend the economic pain still further. But with the Prime Minister asking more people to return to work this week and signalling that retail may begin to open up in June followed by hospitality in July in England, it’s vital that the guidance is clear so that we understand what this means for us in Wales.
“This is no time for politics or mixed messaging. As people with ultimate legal responsibility, directors and business owners need to have confidence that it’s safe, and that if they act responsibly they or their employees won’t be at undue risk. We need parity with clear communication to avoid confusion and that means the four nations of the UK working together and collaborating to do what is right for the UK as a whole.
“As the Prime Minister has said, we understand that the cost to our economy and our way of life is going to be ‘colossal’. Directors understand that they are going to have to adapt and they also appreciate that there is long road ahead but they cannot be compromised by mixed messaging, particularly those who operate close to the Borders and may well have clients and/or employees who live in both England and Wales. It is difficult to understand how manufacturing and construction can return to work in England on Wednesday but not in Wales or why it is planned for people to return to work on Wednesday in England but not in Wales. This will have significant impact for transport providers like KeolisAmey who operate Transport for Wales Rail Services with routes throughout the Borders yet rely on people living in Wales to staff the railway.
“There is a very real risk that such confused messaging puts Wales at a significant disadvantage. Business appreciates that all politicians, irrespective of geography or party, have the difficult task of balancing lives and livelihoods but one thing we cannot risk is Wales being left behind. I know that members of the IoD in Wales want our First Minister and our Prime Minister to work together with the common purpose of protecting lives and livelihoods. They’ve got to sing off the same hymn sheet for the sake of our people and our economy.”