Covid control measures must be underpinned by sector-specific support.
Plaid Cymru Gwynedd Members of Parliament Hywel Williams and Liz Saville Roberts have urged the UK Treasury to underpin Covid-19 control measures with targeted support to safeguard jobs within the local outdoor education sector.
The Plaid Cymru MPs have tabled a Parliamentary Motion urging the UK government to expand the furlough scheme and provide specific support to sectors disproportionally affected by the pandemic, including outdoor education centres, which support hundreds of jobs in Gwynedd.
The Plaid Cymru MPs said that the local tourism, outdoor education, leisure, hospitality, and arts sector required immediate assurances so that jobs could be protected over the winter months and that a targeted expansion of furlough to support these sectors was a necessity.
Hywel Williams MP said,
‘Outdoor education centres provide huge benefits in terms of promoting children's physical and mental health, whilst improving young people's opportunities to experience outdoor activities.’
'Their reliance on school and residential visits for a significant proportion of their income means they will continue to struggle whilst the necessary health precautions are in place.'
'Along with many businesses in the tourism, leisure, hospitality, and arts sector; outdoor education centres and those whose jobs they support, face a bleak and uncertain winter.’
'We must bear in mind that these are viable businesses, who were flourishing before the pandemic which is why they must be supported so that they are ready to open as soon as restrictions can be lifted.'
'I urgently call on the UK government to ensure that health measures are underpinned with economic support and targeted measures are urgently put in place to help carry these sectors through the winter months, including a further targeted expansion of the furlough scheme.'
Liz Saville Roberts MP said,
'While it is understandable why it is difficult for schools to arrange outdoor activity visits at present, it is essential that centres in Gwynedd and across Wales are ready to operate as soon as it is safe to re-open.'
'They are a specific example of a sector which has been forced to shut down during this crisis yet has received little support from government.'
'Many children will inevitably have been cooped up at home during the Covid-19 crisis, and the opportunity to enjoy exercise in the fresh air must be widely available for their welfare and future healthy lifestyles.'