THEWelsh Government is making an additional £140m available to businesses to help them deal with the economic challenges of Covid-19 and the UK’s impending exit from the EU, Economy Minister Ken Skates has announced.
The funding from the third phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) will see wider support being provided to secure jobs and help businesses develop, as well as additional help for firms affected by local lockdowns.
To date, the ERF has delivered almost £300m of support to more than 13,000 companies in Wales. This has helped to protect in excess of 100,000 jobs which might otherwise have been lost.
This new phase of the ERF will see £80m being made available to support businesses with projects that can help them transition to the economy of tomorrow. It will require co-investment from companies and a clear plan about how they will adjust to the post-covid economy.
Of this, £20m will be ring fenced to support tourism and hospitality businesses who are facing particular challenges as they enter the winter months.
Meanwhile an additional £60m will be allocated to support businesses impacted by local lockdown restrictions.
The rest of the funding will be used flexibly to provide additional support, for example to increase lending to Welsh businesses through Development Bank of Wales initiatives and to help companies deal with the impacts of the UK leaving the European Union.
The ERF has been designed to complement and build on the support offered by the UK Government.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Our Economic Resilience Fund has been absolutely crucial in supporting businesses throughout Wales in dealing with the economic challenges of the coronavirus and helping protect the livelihoods of more than 100,000 people.
“The next phase of the fund, worth £140m, builds on that success, helping us to secure jobs and enabling businesses to continue to develop and grow in these challenging times. There is also a specific part of the fund earmarked to support businesses affected by local lockdowns.
“This additional help has been designed to complement and build on the support announced by the Chancellor last week, again demonstrating the Welsh Government’s proactive approach to go above and beyond in providing extra financial assistance that we know our businesses and workers need.”
The £80m worth of business development grants will be open to micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses.
Micro businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) will be able to apply for up to £10k on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10%.
SMEs (employing between 10 and 249 people) will be able to apply for up to £150K on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10% for small business (1-49 staff) and 20% for medium sized (50-249) business.
Large businesses (employing 250+ people) will be able to apply for up to £200K on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.
Companies that received grant funding through phases one and two of the ERF, or Non-Domestic Rate linked support, could also be eligible for phase three of the ERF.
The Minister added: “We are going through a time like no other. Coronavirus and the increasing risk of the UK reaching the end of the European Union transition period without a deal have placed incredible challenges on our businesses.
“As a Welsh Government, we continue to do all we can to back our businesses, our workers and our communities.”
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “The package of support we have provided for Welsh businesses has been, and will continue to be, absolutely critical as we move into the next phase of addressing this crisis.
“Today’s announcement provides reassurances to businesses at a time they need it most.”
The Eligibility Checker for companies to find out if they can access funding from the third phase of the ERF will be live during week commencing 5 October.