Plaid Cymru's Response to Coronavirus
Plaid Cymru is working tirelessly to help Wales overcome the Coronavirus crisis. Here's everything we want you to know as we work together to defeat the virus.
Below is an overview of the work we've been doing. For more detail on our work, have a look at our latest Coronavirus updates.
Or click here to read our seven point plan for protecting Wales during the outbreak.
During this period, perhaps more than ever, it is important that our governments are held to account and that the people of Wales are kept of abreast of any changes in a democratic and transparent way.
To this end, we welcome the return of the House of Commons but are concerned by the ‘hybrid’ format this has taken place as it risks putting those MPs who don’t live near London at a serious disadvantage.
The Senedd has already proved that a fully digital parliament is possible and will continue to work towards that aim at Westminster.
Learning Lessons for the Future
The best way of ensuring that our future responses to crises improves is to learn the lessons from this crisis and improve our decision-making capacity in the future. The best way of learning these lessons is by launching an investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic response in Wales, which should begin immediately and run alongside a UK judge-led inquiry. The purpose will not be to apportion blame, but rather to learn lessons.
This inquiry should consider our level of preparedness, our testing capacity and implementation, the level of available PPE for frontline staff and whether lockdown was implemented too late.
The Welsh Government have missed all testing targets and subsequently dropped them. Originally, the target was to test 8,000 people a day by mid-April. Our Health Spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth said that testing had to be a priority, and concurred with the World Health Organisation’s belief that testing is the backbone of the war against the virus. Our belief is that in order to tackle, overcome and isolate coronavirus we must test, test, test.
Lifting and Easing of Lockdown
It is our firm belief that all four UK Governments must agree how and when lockdown is lifted. London has consistently been highlighted as significantly ahead of other regions of England, as well as the other nations of the UK. Wales could face considerable risks if there were any relaxation of a lockdown in England while the peak has not yet been reached in Wales.
Citizenship for Keyworkers
Plaid Cymru have called for all non-British people working on the frontline of the Coronavirus crisis to be granted citizenship if they have requested it, thereby granting them the honour and recognition they deserve.
Key workers are facing unprecedented difficulties, from the lack of personal protective equipment to the drastic surge in patient numbers. The virus has also tragically claimed the lives of many healthcare workers.
Roughly 25% of UK hospital staff were born overseas, and despite their valiant efforts, many key workers who do not hold British citizenship, from doctors to hospital cleaners, from nursing home aides to paramedics, are still living in perpetual uncertainty about whether they can stay in the UK permanently.
Pay Rises for all NHS and Social Care Staff
We are calling for pay rises to all NHS and social care staff in recognition of their work during the Coronavirus crisis. These workers are putting their lives on the line for us during this crisis and the least that can be done is to raise their pay. Furthermore, we are pushing for care staff to have parity of pay with NHS staff and all should be moved to NHS terms and conditions.
Plaid Cymru has called for a focussed package of economic support for agriculture, as lockdown measures mean Welsh farmers could lose an entire year of income.
Welsh agriculture is a vital industry, which directly employs over 52,000 workers. We are concerned that the already highly vulnerable sector is largely failing to be supported by the UK and Welsh governments’ economic support packages in response to the Coronavirus crisis. We are calling for the UK Government to urgently develop financcial measures to support seasonal industries alongside an increase in funding for the Welsh Government to enable a comprehensive financial support packasge to underpin Welsh farmers’ income.
Wales should not rely solely on the UK Government for procuring vital PPE used by those on the frontline fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plaid Cymru has received correspondence from the Chinese Ambassador in the UK that the Country would be willing to provide assistance to Wales and we urge the Welsh Government to seek international cooperation on the procurement of PPE.
The Welsh Government should be following the example set by the Scottish Government by bringing forward legislation to guarantee no evictions from either the social or private rented sector for the next 6 months.
By following Westminster, we have a weaker settlement, with an eviction ban of only 3 months. In addition, the Welsh Government has failed to instruct landlords not to evict tenants. This is a major dereliction of duty.
Universal Basic Income
The UK Government should developed a Universal Basic Income to help manage the impact of the coronavirus crisis on people in Wales and across the UK. The crisis is unprecedented in modern times, and we therefore need radical and unprecedented action, rather than tinkering at the edges.
A Universal Basic Income would allow everyone to receive uniform, flat-rate payments during the crisis to allow everyone to continue paying bills and buy essentials. This will at least allow a level of security when faced with rent repayments or products needed for survival, especially when so many have, or are in danger, of losing their employment and livelihoods.
What everyone can do to defeat the Coronavirus
We urge everyone to follow the latest government advice. The advice below has come from the UK Government website.
Stay at home
Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.