HALF a billion pounds of relief grants has reached 41,000 small businesses in Wales in the space of just a few weeks.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates and Finance Minister Rebecca Evans today thanked local authorities throughout Wales for their hard work to swiftly process grant payments, ensuring small businesses receive speedy help to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
This impressive effort has seen £508m move from government to businesses in the last month.
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 have received a grant of £25,000.
And a £10,000 grant has been paid to firms, which are eligible for small business rates relief and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
All eligible businesses will also benefit from a year-long rates holiday.
Work to process outstanding applications is continuing and more companies are receiving emergency coronavirus grants daily.
The £1.7bn package of support from the Welsh Government, which includes the Economic Resilience Fund, goes over and above what is available to businesses in England.
Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said:
“It’s a testament to the hard of work of the Welsh Government and the incredible efforts of local authorities that half a billion pounds of vital grants has been distributed to Welsh business in such a short space of time.
“This funding will be vital in helping firms in Wales deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have also recognised that firms need to be able to access financial support quickly, which is why, working with local authorities, we have made every effort to get this money into the bank accounts of businesses across Wales as quickly as possible.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure the remaining applications are processed.
“We have moved quickly to support our business community and while we have done much to support companies across Wales, we still need the UK Government to go further and provide the additional financial support Welsh firms need to protect jobs, get through this crisis and recover to pre-coronavirus levels of growth.”
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“We are doing everything we can within the resources we have to protect our economy.
“What the Welsh Government is providing in terms of business support represents 2.7% of our GDP – this is a truly unprecedented commitment and a clear demonstration that we are standing up for businesses in all parts of Wales.
“The £500m shared with thousands of businesses is in no small part due to the hard work of local authorities. This funding will be vital in helping businesses through the incredibly challenging weeks and months ahead.”
Welsh Local Government Association finance spokesperson, Councillor Anthony Hunt said:
“The astonishing amount of money distributed so far not only demonstrates the real need for this support, but also bears testament to the dedication of council staff. They have put their shoulders to the wheel to make sure that anyone who is entitled to this support urgently gets it. I am grateful to every one of them for working so hard to authorise payments and ensure that eligible firms are able to benefit.
“This is not only a health crisis, but an economic one too. When we emerge from this period, we want to make sure that our local economies are as strong as they can possibly be in very tough circumstances. Local government will continue to work closely with Welsh Government to support businesses during this tumultuous time.”
Chair of Cowbridge Chamber of Trade, Kate Thomas said:
“We were very grateful to the Welsh Government for their prompt action in issuing grants to businesses and removing their rates burden.
“That combined with financial help to pay staff’s self-isolation sickness and furlough staff has been a life-saver for many businesses. We hope to see this support continue, to make sure as many businesses survive this crisis as possible.”
Neil Gompertz of GPZ Automotive in Flintshire said:
“I’d like to say thank you so much for the kindness and support. You have no idea how much this is such a huge relief to me, I was so afraid that I would lose my business of 27 years. I am immensely grateful and appreciate everything that is being done to help keep small businesses going through this terribly sad time.”