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Businesses in south-east of England got 1,000 times more investment than Wales in UK Gov scheme

10 Feb 2021 2 minutes Read
London. Picture by Tristan Surtel (CC BY-SA 4.0).

A UK Government scheme to help small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic gave Wales a thousand times less money than the South East and London.

Wales received only £500,000 from the Future Fund scheme while London and the South East received more than £700,000,000.

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband accused the Government of “reinforcing economic imbalances in our country” with the start-up funding.

The Labour Party looked at funding allocations for successful applicants since the scheme launched in April of last year up until December 17, when the most recent data was released.

Scotland did even worse than Wales, receiving only an £352,941 award.

Businesses in England but outside the South East also did poorly in comparison with London and its surrounding area, with the North of England, Yorkshire and the English Midlands only receiving £140 million between them.

The data also shows that the approval rate for applications from Wales, Scotland, and the North West and the West Midlands of England were lower than the 84% approval rate for those from London and the South East.

‘Hot air’

Shadow business secretary Mr Miliband said: “By investing much more heavily in start-ups in the South of England and squeezing out other parts of the country, they will be simply reinforcing economic imbalances in our country.

“Ministers have already hurt hard-working entrepreneurs during this crisis by excluding them from support. Instead of hot air and rhetoric, it is time for ministers to deliver.”

A Government spokesman told the Press Association: “We have provided an unprecedented £280 billion of support for businesses affected by Covid in every nation and region of the UK.

“The Future Fund uses a set of standard terms with published eligibility criteria, independent of ministers. This a clear, efficient way to make funding available as widely and as possible, irrespective of location.

“In addition to the Future Fund, the British Business Bank has provided nearly half a billion pounds to high-growth firms outside of London.”

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