Latest Economic Resilience Fund opens for applications at midday today
The latest round of the “Economic Resilience Fund” (ERF) pandemic support from the Welsh Government opens at midday today.
The ERF Sector Specific Support (operating cost) package is targeted at Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure (HTL) businesses and associated supply chain businesses that will be materially impacted by a greater than 60% impact of turnover as a result of the restrictions introduced on 4 December 2020 until 22 January 2021.
Applications are due to open at midday and remain open for 2 weeks – or until funds are fully committed – which could be quite promptly going off the demand of previous funds.
You can access the application and more information on https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/.
The funding, announced in December, is part of a live £450m package of support that the, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors as well as their supply chain can access and will provide vital support to thousands of firms impacted by alert level 3 and 4 restrictions. The £180m is in addition to a £270m support package for businesses that pay non domestic rates, which includes non-essential retail businesses, and is being delivered via Local Authorities.
The separate set of grants linked to Non Domestic Rates aka Business Rates are being administered by local councils and are currently being processed, if the business has had a grant and is eligible this time on the sector support, it will get the payment automatically. We are told if businesses expecting the rates grant have not had a payment by the 20th then they should visit your local council website and apply.
The Welsh Government estimates that under the package of support a typical hospitality business in Wales with the equivalent of six full-time staff could be eligible to receive between £12,000 and £14,000 in total in this round alone, with the Welsh Government saying it “makes it the most generous offer in the UK”.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Accelerating coronavirus rates meant we have had to make difficult but necessary decisions to protect people’s health and save lives. We know these decisions have a knock-on effect on our businesses and there is no doubt that latest restrictions mean very real challenges for firms who have already had to deal with so much.
“We are committed to doing all we can to protect our businesses during this very challenging time. Our package of support is the most generous in the UK and since the beginning of the pandemic more than £1.6bn of Welsh Government financial assistance has reached businesses.
“Many hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail businesses have already received payments of £3,000 or £5,000 in the last month and this additional funding will be absolutely crucial in supporting eligible businesses through the difficult weeks ahead.”
The amount a company can claim from the £180m sector specific fund will be calculated based on staff count and turnover. The fund is expected to support up to 8,000 hospitality, tourism and leisure firms impacted by the restrictions and potentially a further 2,000 in related supply chains.
An eligibility checker and calculator has been live on Business Wales since December to help businesses work out what support they can expect to qualify for in total and the detail they will need to make an application. Further guidance was also issued last week.
Since the end of October alone, more than 69,000 offers of support worth in excess of £230m have been made to businesses across Wales through the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund. Welsh Government stats say the ERF has already protected more than 125,000 jobs that might otherwise have been lost.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “We are fully aware, not least from our hospitality stakeholder group, of the impact of the restrictions that we have had to bring in. This was not the Christmas period that any of us had hoped for, but I would urge businesses to take advantage of the help available.
“We will continue to do everything we can to support our firms and our people through to the other side of this dreadful pandemic.”
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