Firebreak support detailed – Minister says “we will work hard to get money out to businesses as quickly as we can”
The Welsh Government is doubling the third phase of its Economic Resilience Fund, making nearly £300m available to support businesses that continue to be affected by Covid-19.
In September, the Economy Minister Ken Skates announced £140m would be made available under the third phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund.
However as a result of the “fire-break”, which will begin on Friday 23 October and continue until Monday 9 November and will require a range of businesses to temporarily close their doors or reduce their operations, the latest round of the fund will be more than doubled to give further help for businesses across Wales.
The Economic Resilience Fund, which complements support schemes available from the UK Government, is part of the Welsh Government’s £1.7bn plus support package for businesses to help deal with the economic impacts of Coronvirus.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“As a Welsh Government we are having to make important decisions to help slow the spread of coronavirus and protect both the stability of our NHS and the health of our people. However we absolutely recognise that these decisions do have a knock on effect on our economy and our businesses during what has already been an incredibly difficult year for them.
“We’ve been speaking at length and in depth with our business partners about the ongoing impact of coronavirus and the effect of the restrictions we are having to implement to slow its spread.
“One of the messages we have received loud and clear is that businesses want certainty so that they can plan and prepare, and that they need a clear package of support to help them through this difficult time.
“This enhanced package of support, which will see us doubling the third phase of our Economic Resilience Fund and quickly getting money out to our businesses to support them through this firebreak and beyond, is designed to provide just that.”
The new and ‘bolstered’ economic package will see:
- Payments of £1,000 for businesses that are eligible for Small Business Rates relief and occupy a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
- Payments of up to £5,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are required to close and which occupy a property with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £50,000.
- A discretionary £2,000 top-up grant for businesses closed or materially affected by the firebreak lockdown.
- A further discretionary £1,000 grant for businesses that were materially affected by local lockdown measures for 21 days or more prior to the start of the firebreak.
- The Welsh Government is also providing a further £20m towards Business Grants meaning £100m will be available for this purpose. Previously, companies were required to provide a percentage of the funding to access these grants, but the Welsh Government has now confirmed it will provide 100% funding for businesses forced to close during the firebreak.
The Minister added: “By doubling the value of this phase of the fund, we are making almost £300m available to provide more financial assistance to our small and medium employers and to businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector that must close their doors during the firebreak.
“This means an additional £150m going direct to Welsh firms to help them cover their bills and increase their resilience to help them through the challenging weeks and months ahead.
“The Economic Resilience Fund, which has been designed to plug the gaps in the UK Government’s support package, has already been crucial in protecting companies across Wales from the severe impacts of coronavirus, safeguarding more than 100,000 jobs.
“This announcement, which is again in addition to the offer from UK Government, will help ensure that many Welsh businesses can keep their heads above water, plan for the future and protect the jobs on which our communities rely.
“The funds will open next week and we will work hard to get money out to businesses as quickly as we can.”
You can view the lunchtime briefing, with the Q&A session below:
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— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) October 20, 2020