LLANELLI’S MS Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport has said that Wales faces a Catastrophic and massive tsunami of an economic crisis, which has hit us, the like of which has not been seen since the depression in the 1930’s.
Speaking to Llanelli Online via Zoom today, Sunday (May 31) The Deputy Minister said that Welsh Government is doing what it can to pour money into areas affected by the crisis but that they do not have an infinite amount of money to keep it up for the long term.
Mr Waters said that the Welsh Government had made difficult decisions about where money should be spent after long discussions and debate. They decided to target businesses that employ the largest number of people. The MS recognised that smaller businesses, sole traders and self-employed people might not agree with the decisions but he said the government were still looking at helping those who may have fallen through the net.
“There just isn’t enough money to give to everyone,” said the MS.
When questioned on why the money had not been previously made available when people were facing cuts to services the MS said: You can’t win can you? Your first line of questioning is we haven’t spent enough and now you are saying we have spent too much.”
Mr Waters went on to blame the UK Government for the ten years of austerity. He compared the borrowing of money to the approach following the Second World War and said that the government are building up a lot of debt during this emergency.
Calling the impact of the crisis a catastrophic, massive tsunami of an economic crisis he said that it would cast a long, dark deep shadow for decades to come and that the Welsh Government have been dipping in to reserves and money, which had been destined for other projects across Wales including roads.
The MS said that the government had doubled critical care capacity in Wales, something he was very proud of. He said that at regional and local level councils had been removing barriers and rules to aid businesses, tearing up templates.
Mr Waters said that PPE in Wales was now in the green zone after six weeks of his tenure in charge of PPE for Wales.
Looking towards the future Mr Waters said that he envisaged more people working from home or town centre co-op buildings where they could save on transport and help the environment. He said he would like to see town centres being repurposed to facilitate this.
On the economy the MS said that Wales would need a massive economic stimulus to get out of crisis and that the Welsh Government will require external help from a UK wide approach from the UK Government to aid recovery.
The MS celebrated the successes of local initiatives of companies making PPE and of the key worker community he said that we had not been turning to investment bankers or celebrities but neglected and underpaid people.
He said that we needed a debate on whether we raise taxes to fund higher pay for public sector workers.
You can listen to the entire interview here: