Covid-19: Support for UK Industries DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Patricia GibsonMain Page: Patricia Gibson (Scottish National Party - North Ayrshire and Arran)
My constituency of Ynys Môn is an island of vast economic potential; however, over the past two decades the people of Ynys Môn have endured an economic decline that should never have been allowed to happen. Many large employers have closed and thousands of well-paid jobs are being lost. This has been hugely detrimental to the island’s precious Welsh culture and the sustainability of the language, as so many have had to travel away to be successful in their careers.
As I am sure Members from all parties who represent coastal constituencies can attest, the tourism and hospitality sector is often most crucial in economically disadvantaged areas. That is certainly the case on Ynys Môn, where the sector supports roughly 4,000 jobs and contributes more than £300 million to the local economy. The lockdown was, of course, the right thing to do: it helped to prevent our precious NHS from being overrun and it helped to save lives. I know that I speak for many businesses and self-employed people from across Ynys Môn—including many of those operating in the tourism sector and the supply chain that supports it—in saying that although the lockdown has been unimaginably difficult to endure, the packages of financial support provided by the Government have been both invaluable and hugely appreciated. That financial support will give the sector a fighting chance to recover and to thrive once again.
In April, it was announced that the parent company of two of the island’s favourite pubs—the Oyster Catcher in Rhosneigr and the White Eagle in Rhoscolyn—had entered into administration. It was feared and likely that at a time when our island cannot afford to lose a single job, more than 100 jobs across both sites would be lost. However, due to the coronavirus job retention scheme, both pubs were identified as being viable and have now been rescued. I thank the Timpson Group for once again displaying confidence in the amazing workforce of Ynys Môn. I wish both pubs and their employees a long and successful future.
Ynys Môn is the most dependent local authority in the UK on tourism, and this crisis has highlighted more than ever that this needs to change and we must diversify. Our coastal waters have some of the strongest tides in the British Isles, and companies such as Minesto are looking to use tidal power. We have a nuclear power station, Wylfa Newydd, which will create thousands of jobs and help to reduce our carbon emissions. Ynys Môn has the opportunity to play a leading role in developing these technologies, with unparalleled economic opportunities for the people of the island.