‘Ignition Fund can reignite the North Wales economy’

The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (24 June) backed calls by business leaders in North Wales to create a £700,000 Ignition Fund to help reignite the region’s ailing economy.

The Ignition Fund would see local freelancers, the self-employed and micro-businesses work together to develop and offer new products and services. It would also help to accelerate new major capital investments in North Wales.

During the Welsh Conservative debate on COVID-19 and the economy, she also urged the Welsh Government to consider:

  • Establishing a COVID Community Recovery Fund to provide targeted economic support to those regions who need it most.
  • Supplementing this Fund with Business Rate-Free Zones where all businesses would be free from paying businesses rates for up to three years.
  • Amending the Economic Resilience Fund so that businesses which continue to fall through the net can put a case forward for discretionary assistance.

Speaking following her contribution to the virtual plenary session, Janet said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen my constituency of Aberconwy hit from all directions. With a higher proportion of workers employed in industries most affected by the lockdown, a recent study concluded that Conwy was the Welsh county where most the jobs are at risk.

“Despite my numerous letters and meetings with Welsh Government Ministers, I am dismayed that Mark Drakeford’s administration has refused to act on my proposal that a tailored strategy be formulated, designed to support those hardest hit regions.

“I once again ask the Welsh Government to consider this sensible approach. A good beginning would be the Ignition Fund proposal, that will encourage cooperation between local freelancers, the self-employed and micro-businesses to develop new products and services.

“We cannot let the Coronavirus pandemic bring this region and its businesses to their knees. An innovative and immediate response is required from Welsh Government if we are to restore confidence in the economy of North Wales.”