Monmouth Assembly Member, Nick Ramsay, yesterday took part in the first virtual plenary session held via Zoom, enabling those Assembly Members who wished to take part, to question the Welsh Government and continue to hold it to account during the current crisis.
This virtual meeting of Assembly Members was the first of its kind to take place in the UK and was deemed to be a success by those who took part.
Nick had the opportunity to raise a number of transport related issues with Ken Skates, Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport including current concerns about bus transport and Cardiff airport before concluding:
” You mentioned the £40 million for the rail industry in Wales, and that is to be welcomed. Have you had any discussions with the rail franchise provider about where that money might go to support the industry in the short term? Social distancing clearly isn't compatible with public transport, so I think we all understand that there are difficulties at the moment with public transport. But I'm sure that we all agree with you that when we come out of this crisis, we want to make sure that our public transport sector, and, indeed, our wider economy, is on the best possible footing to deal with the challenges, and to come out of this so that the economy is on a much more solid footing than it is today because of all the understandable pressures upon it.”
Nick also raised a matter of vital importance to elderly constituents seeking to place online orders with supermarkets, many of whom have been in touch in recent days complaining about the difficulties they are facing: “. I've had many e-mails from constituents, asking about the situation when it comes to shielded individuals and the fact that there's not a similar register within Wales that there is on the UK level for registering with supermarkets to make sure that deliveries are available at home. People are concerned about that. I know the First Minister mentioned it earlier, and the Health Minister mentioned it, so I wonder whether you'd like to say something as well about any discussions you've had with supermarkets—they are a big chunk of our economy—about what can be done to make sure that those shielded individuals and shielded families are looked after as well as possible.”
Ken Skates AM responded: “ In terms of supermarkets, my colleague Lesley Griffiths discussed the issues that Nick Ramsay raised. I believed that they were discussed again just yesterday with all of the supermarkets. I'm sure that the Minister will be writing to Members shortly or providing a written statement regarding discussions that have taken place. But, I would just like to say one thing: I, personally, witnessed shop workers face abuse; it's totally unacceptable at the best of times, it's utterly, utterly reprehensible right now, and I would urge all customers of all shops to be patient and to show respect to shop workers. They are doing vital jobs right now and they deserve our thanks.”