Support for People and Businesses in Wales: Covid-19 — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:54 pm on 21st October 2020.

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Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn 3:54 pm, 21st October 2020

May I begin by apologising to you, Sir Edward? I called you Mr Leigh when I should have referred to you as Sir Edward, and I hope you do not think I was being discourteous to you as Chair.

This debate was going very well until the Minister summed up, and then we had an argument for 15 minutes. I pay tribute to everybody who took part. My hon. Friend Jessica Morden talked about how Newport is recovering during its period of lockdown. I thank Fay Jones, who made a very pertinent point about how important tourism is to her constituency. It has been embedded in her constituency for a number of years. As I alluded to when I spoke to the Minister about the Henry VII trail, we are trying to develop a growing tourism industry in constituencies such as mine. They have an industrial past, but we are hoping that we can bring about tourism, and Hallets, which I mentioned, is part of that. Who would have thought that cider would be made in the valleys?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Anna McMorrin for being so feisty and causing such an interesting exchange with the Minister. I also thank my hon. Friend Stephen Doughty, who made a very pertinent point. In the early days of this pandemic, when the Prime Minister was making announcements, there was a serious concern about whether they applied to Wales. I am glad that has been corrected, because it is a really important issue that we had early on. I also pay tribute to my hon. Friend Stephen Kinnock, who raised concerns about the shared prosperity fund and talked about how we go forward with it. I also pay tribute to my constituency neighbour, my hon. Friend Gerald Jones, for the way he summed up.

I should also mention the Minister. Very often we are on our feet battling with each other, as he did with my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff North, but we forget how important the work that he does behind the scenes is. He has always been very happy to meet colleagues from across the House if they have an issue, whether over the phone or face to face. I pay tribute to him for that work that he does behind the scenes. We often do not talk about it, and members of the public do not see it, so I thank him for that.

I want to end by saying this. The pandemic is no respecter of political colours or borders. Whatever the Government can do or think they can do, it is up to people on the ground to make sure those measures are in place as we fight this terrible disease. The most fantastic thing that all Members have seen since covid-19 is the way the country has come together. People in communities across the country, whether in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or England, have come together to reach out to their neighbours and friends to make sure they are okay and can get through the loneliness and the mental health issues that come with it. They have banded together, particularly in the summer when we saw a drop-off in the virus infection rates, to ensure that business thrives. I am hopeful that once the pandemic is over, business and the economy will once again bounce back.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House
has considered support for people and businesses in Wales affected by the covid-19 outbreak.