Posted: Fri 20th Mar 2020

Minister Skates reassures “if you had a good business in 2019, you will have a good business in 2021” with £1.4bn of business support

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 20th, 2020

Minister for Economy & Infrastructure Ken Skates has said Welsh Government will ‘get money out the door’ as soon as possible to help businesses, along with calling on UK Government to provide wage subsidies. The full video is below.

In a short speech thing morning before taking questions Skates pointed to previous crises involving steel, Ford and others where ‘Task Force operations’ at the Welsh Government means there is added knowledge to tackle coronavirus.

Clarity was also given over the ‘key worker’ list issued by UK Gov as people were wondering if that covered Wales – and it does.

“All of these battles have prepared us for what we are now engaged in in our fight now with Covid 19. There are no novices in the team in my department that will help businesses and people across the length and breadth of Wales. I have people in the department in the team who were in Downing Street during financial crisis and brought us through that, I’ve got people who are experienced in real war situations. It’s a team that has delivered record business numbers, record low unemployment, and it’s one of the reasons why I can give this assurance if you had a good business in 2019, you will have a good business in 2021. If you had a good job in 2019 You will have a good job in 2021.”

“Here in 2020, we have a battle in which we must all fight together.

“The second reason I can give this assurance is because we are deploying 1.4 billion pounds of support for businesses. In normal times we would have within the economy budget just 10s of millions of pounds to support businesses with grants. These are unprecedented times and we have never, ever deployed such a figure to support Welsh businesses.

Skates went on, “Now, the third reason for my statement of assurance is that I hope, and I believe that the Chancellor will today make the right decision in regard to wage subsidies. Many businesses have just hours, not days to survive, and they cannot wait until next week for a positive announcement from the chancellor.

“Fear is normal in a crisis, it can either paralyze you, it can sometimes lead you to make disruptive decisions or to take disruptive actions, or it can lead you to make a positive decision. Today, I hope and expect the Chancellor to make a positive decision on wage subsidies for British businesses.

“Equally, there is a role for the banks to make the right decisions for businesses I met with the High Street banks yesterday, and with the Development Bank of Wales, and I conveyed the message from businesses that I’ve been hearing that they must act in a responsible and supportive way and many are doing exactly that.

Speaking more on the £1.4bn he said “1.4 billion pounds will be used to provide business rates holidays for businesses in the retail, tourism and hospitality sector, so they will not pay business rates for an entire year. That’s going to be very simple to administer. We also announced grants of 10,000 pounds for businesses to qualify for small business rates relief. We also announced grants of £25,000 hospitality businesses, with rateable values of between 12,000 pounds and 51,000 pounds. We are working with our colleagues in local government to use their facilities within the business rates procedures to be able to get those grants out to businesses. And as soon as we get the money from UK government to do that, we will move at maximum speed to administer those grants.”

The full Q&A video is below, where Skates also said, “It’s absolutely essential that business leaders, and we have hundreds of thousands of leaders in business across Wales, do all they can to support employees to pay as much as they are able to, to give guidance and support as regularly as possible to communicate positively with their employees to utilize online resources, those offered by charities such as Mind.

“Also, I’ve been hearing from businesses and from banks the growing threat from fraudsters, please do be vigilant during these difficult times whether the police catch up with fraudsters, we cannot know. But I do hope that that catches up with them.

“Please show respect for shop workers. They are operating in incredibly stressful circumstances, so please do support them.”

“Let me be absolutely clear about our financial resource. Anything that is superfluous to our efforts in fighting Covid-19, economic and other fallout from Covid 19 will be the paused or repurposed for the battle.”

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