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Drakeford ignores hospitality industry leaders after inviting them to discuss proposals

Industry leaders in the pub and hospitality sector have contacted the Welsh Conservatives after responding to an invitation from the Welsh Labour-led Government to discuss new restrictions and their effect on the industry.

Sam Evans, Carlsberg Marston’s Regional Sales Director for Granada and North Wales, wrote to the First Minister on Friday after Mr Drakeford said he wanted to consult with the industry over the weekend.

Mr Evans said that he was “deeply concerned that all of Wales is being placed under further restrictions, especially in North Wales, given the numbers and statistics show good progress against this awful virus”, adding:

“[Hospitality industry leaders] understand action is needed but why given the evidence of such low transition rates in hospitality are we again having to bear the brunt of restrictions. Is the whole Wales approach just a lack of understanding of the data on hand or an easy way out?

“So here I am, a senior manager from a major UK brewer, a resident of North Wales, a Welshman and freely available to consult with.”

Speaking with Welsh Conservatives – including Darren Millar MS, the Shadow Covid Recovery Minister – Mr Evans said that, as of yesterday (November 30), he had yet to be contacted by the First Minister or Welsh Government officials, but made clear that he remains open to discuss matters with them.

Mr Millar said:

“The First Minister claims to be consulting with the hospitality sector regarding the Welsh Government restrictions so it is strange that no effort has been made to reach out to a major business like Carlsberg Marston's. 

“The hospitality sector in Wales is already reeling from the Welsh Government's previous restrictions so the new rules that kick in from Friday are a devastating blow to those businesses that have worked had to protect their staff and customers by implementing Covid safe arrangements. 

“With one in 10 of the Welsh workforce employed by hospitality enterprises and with so many relying on pre-Christmas trade, the Welsh Government is now putting tens of thousands of jobs and livelihoods at risk.

"The First Minister must explain to industry leaders like Carlsberg Marston's why he hasn't bothered to contact them to discuss his plans and the ramifications for their businesses." 

He added:

"A Wales-wide approach to these restrictions is disproportionate, we need targeted intervention, that's backed by science, and reflects the different levels of risk in different parts of the country."

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