Emergency support for businesses in Wales hit by Coronavirus
The Welsh Government has announced a package of support worth more than £200m for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.
Shops, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill.
A further £100m will be available for a new grant scheme for small businesses which are not eligible for this new business rate relief.
Further details on this new grant scheme will be confirmed as soon as possible.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued new advice for people to avoid “pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues” as well as stopping unnecessary travel.
UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls called the move catastrophic, claiming the UK Government had “effectively shut the hospitality industry without support”.
“This announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors and hundreds of thousands of job losses,” she said.
Welsh Government Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“I’m pleased we can offer this package of support to businesses as part of our response to the coronavirus outbreak. We are allocating every penny of the funding we will be receiving as a consequence of the schemes the UK Government announced in England last week to support businesses in Wales.
“But I know that helping businesses with their rates bills will not be enough to protect them from the severe drop in custom many are experiencing as coronavirus cases increase.
“We will be calling on the UK Government to act quickly and decisively to provide a very significant support package for vulnerable businesses and their employees.”
Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“Those businesses covered by Welsh Government’s announcement today will greatly welcome support on business rates and a grant payment for some of the worst affected. We asked Welsh Government to move quickly on this and they have; the support outlined will hopefully provide significant level of support for those businesses that will be covered by it.
This move will begin to bring some degree of certainty to businesses and help them understand what Welsh Government can do to support them. That this is only the beginning of Welsh Government support will also come as reassuring news.
However, there are still gaps in the level of support on offer. Whilst the detail of the grants scheme is not finalised, only businesses with a premises are covered by any form of support from Welsh Government, and the lack of detail on the grant scheme currently creates uncertainty as to which businesses will be entitled to support.
Welsh Government have done some good work to support businesses here, but what businesses need now are details so that they can build a plan around it.
Businesses are facing a disruption on an unprecedented level, and Welsh Government need to respond urgently with as much detail as possible on how they will provide a safety net to Welsh businesses in the coming months.
“Welsh Government and UK Government also need to work closely together to ensure that the best possible support is available from both sources. We are all in this together, and it is vital that businesses feel supported by UK and Welsh Government.”
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