Mark Drakeford says he “totally dismisses” claims by the UK Minister that his restrictions are damaging Wales’ economy


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Mark Drakeford on Sky News today

The First Minister said he “totally rejects” claims by UK ministers that restrictions in Wales are damaging the country’s economy.

Mark Drakeford was asked by Trevor Phillips Sky news what he made of the suggestions that the Welsh economy would suffer from the restrictions on sport and hospitality in Wales.

A number of Conservative MPs had criticized Wales’ restrictions in the House of Commons this week, including Michael Fabricant and Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones, who said they would “damage” and “harm” the Welsh economy.

But the First Minister said that public health and the economy could not be separated.

“I totally oppose the way in which UK ministers are trying to divert the economy away from public health needs,” he said.

“If we don’t address public health needs, the economy will simply be affected differently.

“So we see a lot of people who cannot work, are not sure about going to restaurants, shopping, and so on.

“So the measures we are taking to protect public health are precisely the measures that are protecting the economy.

“Our modeling now shows that in about two weeks we will start to peak and as we come down we will start to overlook the current protections.”

‘Hot spots’

The First Minister also rejected a suggestion that the Wales restrictions were failing as “Wales currently has a higher incidence of Covid despite the restrictions”.

A comparison of the case numbers in Wales and England is “misleading”, according to Mark Drskeford.

“Well I think it’s a misleading comparison because there are parts of Wales that are much lower than other parts of Wales and parts of Wales that are much lower than the hotspots in England,” he said.

“So comparing all of Wales and all of Egland just doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. We’re trying to make sure we’re protecting Wales from the onslaught of the variant of Omicron that has migrated east to west and invades Wales later than parts of England.

“Our prices are still lower than in English hotspots and we want to do our best to keep it that way.”

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