By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

In the Welsh Conservative Debate calling for an independent public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales, I emphasised that Welsh Government decisions over the past 16 months have failed many North Wales businesses, with emails I have received from them stating the Welsh Government had ‘stabbed them in the back’ and that the Welsh Government grant announcement was a ‘slap in the face’.

I also expressed concern that the Office of Budget Responsibility forecasts that Wales’ output will not recover to pre-COVID-19 levels until months after the UK next year, having lagged behind the rest of the UK before the pandemic struck, and noted that the Welsh Government only prioritised the vaccination programme in Wales after we highlighted that it was running massively behind the rest of the UK on both first and second jabs.

I called for a Welsh Government Statement on support for people with learning disabilities, referring to Royal College of Nursing report findings that there is a lack of Children’s learning disability services in Wales, that student learning disability nursing numbers in Wales have remained static for three years and that there is only one learning disability nurse at Nurse Consultant level across Wales, and to their call for a workforce plan to accompany the strategic development of learning disability services across Wales.

I also called for a Welsh Government Statement on behalf of constituents outraged that people in Wales travelling overseas have to pay more for Covid-19 PCR testing than fellow Britons in England.

It cannot be right that people in Wales should have to pay so much more because of the First Minister’s unceasing determination to do things differently.

Online engagements included Chairing the first meeting of the Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee in the 6th Senedd; attending Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s briefing call for North Wales’ Welsh Conservative MPs and MSs, where I raised issues regarding COVID-19 deaths and deaths prevented, vaccinations and North Wales GP Practice Access Standards; meeting the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Wales Cymru to discuss their work to improve Wales’ infrastructure networks; and the Senedd’s Cross-Party Group on Faith.

I also visited the John Summers Clock Tower site at the old Steelworks in Deeside to see the impressive progress made by the Enbarr Foundation over the past year in rescuing and regenerating this wonderful location, and had a catch-up call with Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndŵr University.

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