Businesses and organisations which have successfully applied to Welsh Government’s £500 million Economic Resilience Fund will start receiving grant payments by the end of next week, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates has announced.
Since it opened to applications a week ago, the second phase of the fund has received almost 9,000 requests for support.
Due to the scale of demand, Welsh Government increased the amount of funding for this phase to £300 million. Around 700 applications are being appraised daily, with the first batch now approved for payment.
The fund will now be paused at midday on Monday 27 April following the very large number of applications.
The Economy Minister said this will give Welsh Government an opportunity to consider what further support businesses, charities and social enterprises in need.
But he also today called on the UK Government to go further with its support and provide the vital funding Welsh businesses need to survive and recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Economic Resilience Fund will support a significant number of businesses and enterprises facing cash flow pressures – but Welsh Government has always been clear it will not reach all of them.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
Demand for our Economic Resilience Fund speaks volumes about the scale of the national crisis.
The rate of applications has been unprecedented and I want to thank the team of Welsh Government officials which is working at pace to process applications and get money into the accounts of those businesses and organisations, which need it as quickly as possible.
We have taken the decision to pause the fund on Monday to examine how we use the remaining funding to maximise the benefits for those firms who need it and to protect our economy.
As a government, we have a number of considerations to explore – supporting those businesses which we haven’t yet reached will be a primary concern.
I welcome the actions the UK Government has taken to date in supporting businesses but there is a lot more it can – and should – be doing.
There is a real need for the Chancellor to learn lessons quickly from the schemes implemented so far, not least on getting funds out to businesses faster.
It is essential the UK Government now goes further by providing the financial support needed for firms of all sizes to survive and recover to the levels of growth and prosperity that were seen before this pandemic.
The Economic Resilience Fund offers financial support to help businesses, charities and social enterprises deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and will be vital in helping organisations manage cash flow pressures.
It is a bespoke additional funding stream for Wales and was designed to address gaps not currently met by schemes already announced by the UK Government, Welsh Government and Development Bank of Wales (DBW).
The first phase of the fund, the £100 million DBW COVID-19 loan scheme, was fully subscribed in little more than seven days after 1,600 applications were submitted – in an average year the DBW processes around 400 applications.
It is anticipated that the DBW will have processed all applications received within the month.