‘Furlough level of support needed” to prevent “financial oblivion” for businesses in Wales
Plaid Cymru have called for a “furlough level of support to help businesses across Wales through the winter.
The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has warned that inaction from the UK Government will lead to “financial oblivion” for businesses facing a rise in energy prices and the cost of of goods.
Today the MP (Sunday 4 September) called for the incoming Prime Minister to implement a “furlough level of support” to support small businesses through the energy crisis.
The Ceredigion MP reiterated his party’s call to lower the price cap to pre-April levels and to extend it to small businesses and charities, who are currently not protected by any price cap.
Mr Lake said that inaction by the UK Government will lead to “financial oblivion” for small businesses.
99.4% of businesses in Wales are SMEs, providing for 62.6% of private sector employment in Wales. 95% of business in Wales are micro businesses, employing between 0-9 employees.
Mr Lake said that given the importance of small businesses to the Welsh economy, the next Prime Minister must recognise that “without the same level of support for businesses as was given during the pandemic, our economy will simply collapse.”
Ashley Hughes, the owner of the Premier store in Nefyn, Gwynedd, said that his monthly electricity bills are expected to increase from £605.70 to £2,877.
Mr Hughes backed Plaid Cymru’s call saying that “without support from Westminster, towns like Nefyn will turn into ghost towns where no business will be able to stay open.”
Ben Lake MP said: “Government paralysis over the summer means small businesses up and down the country are preparing for a grim winter.
“Our next Prime Minister – if polls are to be believed – has promised nothing to households or businesses who are facing financial oblivion in a matter of weeks.
“The absence of an energy price cap for businesses means that energy companies are exploiting small businesses to breaking point. While larger corporations can hedge against rising energy costs, smaller companies will have no option but to close due to unsustainable costs this winter.
“SMEs are the backbone of the Welsh economy. Without the same level of support for businesses as was given during the pandemic, our economy will simply collapse.
“We need a furlough-level of support, which is why Plaid Cymru is urging the UK Government to return the price cap to pre-April levels and to extend it to small businesses and charities.
“In the longer term, a mixture of grant and loan support is needed for SMEs to benefit more from renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. Without such measures, small businesses will continue to be disproportionately impacted by fluctuations in our unsustainable and unfair energy market.”
Owner of Premier store in Nefyn, Gwynedd, Ashley Hughes added: “Many small businesses in rural Wales are already struggling due to high costs.
“Without support from Westminster, towns like Nefyn will turn into ghost towns where no business will be able to stay open.
“I strongly urge the Prime Minister – be it Truss or Sunak – to adopt Plaid Cymru’s calls to lower the price cap and extend it to small businesses. Without such action, businesses like ours will struggle to ever recover.”
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