Business support – ongoing work in Wales

I wrote to the Welsh Economy Minister Ken Skates highlighting some local examples of businesses (e.g. childcare) that were facing severe difficulties. Clearly the UK Chancellor’s announcement on the self-employed yesterday has updated the advice as to be found in this link but I thank Ken for his comprehensive response and the ongoing work in Wales.

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“Dear Dawn,

Thank you for your email of 19 March on behalf of your constituent regarding the impact on a childcare business following the coronavirus outbreak.

I recognises the incredibly difficult and uncertain circumstances that businesses are experiencing. The Welsh Government is absolutely committed to providing the support and assurance the business community needs.

Following the initial package of £200m support announced on 17 March, we have now extended this and will be providing almost £1.4 billion of support for businesses. All retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or below will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2020-21. This means that in total, over 70,000 Welsh businesses will pay no rates at all for the year – the new relief will be in place from 1 April.

Businesses who benefit won’t have to pay bills they would otherwise have been paying from that date. A grant of £25,000 will also be offered for businesses in the same sector with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.

It also provides a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. We are working as fast as possible to get the money out to businesses but this has to be subject to due process and governance. Separately, the

Development Bank of Wales has loan and equity funding available immediately to Welsh businesses.

We acknowledge there remains, however, an urgent need for government intervention in a number of areas, including, for example,  providing support for the self-employed and helping businesses meet the cost of Non Domestic Rates in other sectors of the economy, as well as rent of commercial premises.

To address emerging gaps in the UK Government’s interventions, the Welsh Government will put in place a cross-sector, cross-Government fund to respond to the specific needs of businesses, during what will be a managed period of enterprise hibernation. This will help meet fixed costs which are no longer covered by earned income and which are not adequately
addressed by the UK Government interventions. It will also assist self-employed citizens,should UK Government not step in with  direct assistance this week.

This will be designed specifically to include social enterprises and charitable organisations which have until now relied in whole or part on revenues from trading. We intend to announce precise details as soon as we possibly can and clearly the exact coverage will depend on what further measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces”.

I welcome the fact that the Welsh Government are continuing to consider what action they can take to plug gaps in existing support. I will of course update as information becomes available.

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