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AM calls for consideration for restrictions to be lifted in rural areas

NEIL HAMILTON, AM for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales has urged the First Minister to consider relaxing restrictions in rural areas more quickly than in densely populated areas.

Speaking in virtual plenary, Mr Hamilton, a member of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs committee, asked Mark Drakeford to consider different lockdown measures for urban and rural areas in Wales.

He said:

“There is a difference between rural and urban Wales. There is a much greater chance of contracting the virus in heavily populated urban areas than in rural ones.

“I wonder if we might we be able to devise a scheme whereby we can relax these restrictions more quickly in sparsely populated rural areas than in heavily and densely populated urban towns.

“The consequence of the dramatic restrictions on economic activity in recent weeks are likely to be even greater than those of the great recession of 1929-31. This means the tax base is going to be dramatically reduced and there will be less money to spend on everything from education to health and social services in the future.

“Without underestimating the dreadful impact of the Coronavirus itself, it is vitally important that restrictions are relaxed as quickly as possible so the economy of Wales can get moving ahead again..

“The Government should lean in the direction of economic freedom for the benefit of us all.”

The First Minister agreed they needed to find a path out of the Covid-19 pandemic which did not further damage the Welsh economy by allowing the virus to circulate rapidly around the community again.

However, he said the messages from rural Wales are of anxiety about doing things too quickly there.

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