UK Government slammed over lack of support for Welsh businesses
Figures obtained by the Welsh Liberal Democrats have shown that Wales has received less post-Brexit support for small businesses than any other UK nation – and almost half the amount of funding received by Northern Ireland, which received the next lowest amount.
This is even though Wales has a population of 3.1 million compared to Northern Ireland’s 1.8 million.
The information obtained from a response to a written question by Sarah Olney MP to Lucy Frazer, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, shows that across the UK less than half of the £20 million post-Brexit Government fund to help small businesses deal with new rules for trading with the EU has been handed out to companies.
Out of the £8.4 million that has been handed out England has received £7.2 million, Scotland £476,539, Northern Ireland £434,234 and in Wales just £230,159.
In 2019, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales accounted for 62.4% of employment and 37.9% of turnover.
‘High and dry’
The Welsh Liberal Democrats say the figures show that the Tories have “shamefully left many small Welsh businesses high and dry” and have called on Rishi Sunak to reopen the fund during his budget next week.
Party Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Smaller firms have continually borne the brunt of both the pandemic and the government’s botched Brexit deal. The Conservatives are shamefully letting down the backbone of the Welsh economy.
“Instead of offering small business owners support to help them get back on their feet, ministers are clobbering them with a manifesto-breaking tax hike in the form of national insurance rises.
“The Government must relaunch this fund, significantly increase its budget and appoint a new SME trade minister to listen to the concerns of small businesses. It must also significantly increase its engagement with Welsh businesses to make them aware of the fund.”
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