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Economic Resilience Fund protects 75,000 jobs

Economy Minister Ken Skates has revealed that the Welsh Government’s unique Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has already supported more than 9,000 businesses in Wales, helping them to protect around 75,000 jobs.

The fund has seen £150 million worth of crucial grants provided to businesses to help them deal with the impacts of coronavirus. Almost £138 million has supported Micro and SME firms already, with more funding arriving with businesses by the day.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Our Economic Resilience Fund is proving absolutely vital in ensuring Welsh businesses get the financial support they need to help see them through these incredibly challenging times. Our calculations indicate that the ERF has helped protect around 75,000 jobs.

“Coronavirus has placed unprecedented pressures on the business community, and the Welsh Government has done everything in its power to provide practical and financial support. We established the ERF to plug the gaps left in UK Government support and I am pleased the fund is supporting so many firms that could have been left behind.

“We also made a commitment to cut the red tape and get money out to firms as quickly as possible. In some cases this has resulted in applications being received, processed and funding arriving with businesses in as little as four days – and we know this speed and agility is exactly what our businesses need.

“More ERF funding will continue to arrive with businesses in the coming days and weeks as applications continue to be processed.”

The ERF is part of the Welsh Government’s £1.7 billion package of support for business which is the most generous and comprehensive offer of help anywhere in the UK.

This also includes more than 65,000 awards worth £750m of business rate relief to help them respond to financial challenges due to the pandemic.

The second phase of the ERF, which closed on Friday 10 July, extended support to non-VAT registered limited companies and businesses that started after March 2019.

A separate £5m fund established to specifically to support start-up firms not helped by the UK Government’s Self Employment income support scheme remains open for applications. The grant scheme will support up to 2,000 start-ups in Wales with a grant of £2,500 each.

Ken Skates added: “As a Welsh Government we have acted swiftly and decisively to help protect Welsh businesses from the severe impact of coronavirus.

“We are working hard to respond to the needs of business, but it is clear that our budget will only go so far.

“Whilst we recognise the economic interventions made by the UK Government so far, particularly the Job Retention Scheme, now is the time for them to re-double their efforts and deliver the further financial support that businesses and our economy need to recover from this pandemic.”