Additional emergency funding for businesses in Wales may be needed in New Year says Economy Minister
Additional emergency funding for businesses may be needed to handle the wave of the Omicron variant in the New Year, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has said as he announced £120m of support.
Businesses in Wales impacted by the rapid spread of the new variant of the virus will be eligible for emergency financial support under the new Welsh Government support package.
The Welsh Government said that they had decided to extend this support to non-essential retail so that smaller shops, and Travel Agents will be supported. In England, support is not available to non-essential retail.
Currently, the Omicron wave is expected to peak in early January and the First Minister said yesterday that the current funding was designed to extend to February.
But the Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said that they will keep an eye on whether more funds will need to be made available due to an extended wave or more restrictions.
“We will continue to monitor the impact of the spread of Omicron on businesses in Wales, and will consider whether additional emergency funding is needed in the new year,” he said.
The current £120m funding will be available for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism business and their supply chains affected by the new restrictions announced yesterday.
Vaughan Gething added: “We fully understand the continued challenges faced by businesses, however we are facing a very serious situation in Wales.
“A wave of infections caused by the new, fast-moving and very-infectious omicron variant is headed our way, this means taking early action to try and control its spread – and limit the impact on Welsh businesses.”
Under the latest package, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism business who pay Non Domestic Rates will be entitled to a payment of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000 depending on their rateable value.
Businesses will need to re-register their details, through a quick and easy online process, with their local authority in order to receive their payments. Registration will open via local authority websites from the WC 10th of January.
In addition, impacted hospitality and leisure businesses and their supply chains will be able to apply for top up funding from a new Economic Resilience Fund (ERF). Eligible businesses can apply for grants of between £2,500k – £25,000, with grants dependant on their size and number of employees. The application window for ERF will open in week commencing 17th January 2022 with payments starting to reach businesses within days.
Local Authorities will also administer a Discretionary fund for business and sole traders who do not pay rates. The fund will provide £500 to sole trader and freelancers and £2,000 to employing businesses in impacted sectors. Further details to follow on business.wales.
An eligibility checker which will help businesses to gage how much they can expect to receive under the new support package will be available on the Business Wales website by the start of 2022.
Vaughan Gething added: “Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve provided over £2.2bn of support to businesses throughout Wales to help them manage their way through difficult circumstances.”
BusinessWales will be updated with details, frequently asked question and support guidance, the Welsh Government said.