Responding to reports that Holyhead and Fishguard ports saw a 30 per cent drop in traffic in 2021, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of “doing half a job” with the UK’s Brexit deal and stated that failures in the agreement are continuing to risk Welsh jobs.
Port of Holyhead
Ian Davies, the boss of Stena's UK ports has stated that he thinks it is now clear the impact on Welsh ports is down to the new post-Brexit trading relationship with the European Union rather than the pandemic.
At the start of January, new customs regulations came into effect requiring greater checks on goods coming into the UK, with the industry warning that even stricter checks due to come in over summer 2022 could prove even more disruptive.
The extra red-tape has led to numerous hauliers deciding to bypass the UK and Wales all-together, with direct ferry routes between France and Ireland increasing from less than 12 in 2020, to 44 as of October 2021.
Welsh ports are thought to supply at least 1,000 jobs in Holyhead, Ynys Môn and support around 4,000 in Pembrokeshire.
Commenting on the developments Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader & Mid and West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:
“Yet again we are seeing more evidence that the Conservatives are the party of doing half a job. There are now numerous serious problems with the Brexit deal Boris Johnson negotiated, most of which they were warned about before they signed the deal.
“Whether it’s the unacceptable levels of new red tape for our hauliers and small businesses, the lack of an adequate veterinary agreement for our farmers or the impact of lost development funds on our most deprived regions, the Conservatives are failing to even attempt to address the problems they have caused on multiple fronts.
“We urgently need the Conservatives to get a grip, take some responsibility and clean up the mess they have made. People’s jobs and livelihoods are depending on it, as is the wider Welsh economy which does not need any unnecessary turmoil as we try to move into the post-pandemic era.”