Plaid Cymru calls for additional support measures for former industrial areas of the south with high infection rates

Plaid Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to create designated “Covid Special Support Areas” that would qualify for additional support measures including for those who are clinically vulnerable and can’t work from home, additional test and trace resources, and a top up to the self-isolation grant to £800.

The call will be raised in a Senedd debate today (Wednesday 18 November), led by Plaid Cymru.

The motion notes the continued high prevalence of Covid-19 infection rates within parts of the south of Wales and the recent research that suggests post-industrial communities may be disproportionately affected by the virus, and calls on the Welsh Government to designate areas experiencing higher infection rates as “Covid Special Support Areas”.

Specifically, the additional support will benefit areas of the south with high infection rates such as Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent.

Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for the Rhondda said,

“Additional support is needed for those who are clinically vulnerable, who cannot work from home, but who live and work in areas of high Covid-19 prevalence.

“There are parts of our former industrial areas that have had persistently high infection rates, including my constituency. People who can’t work from home but who are clinically vulnerable shouldn’t be put in the situation where they have to choose between risking their health and putting food on the table.

“There are extra measures that can be taken to help everyone in the region – special support areas could automatically be given priority for mass testing programmes and early roll out of vaccines. Self-isolation grants could be increased to £800 to make sure that clinically vulnerable people could afford to stay and home and stay safe.

“It’s clear from the stubbornly high levels of coronavirus infections that a different approach is needed in certain parts of the south, and Plaid Cymru’s motion could not only help get control of infection rates, but help keep our most vulnerable away from harm too.”