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Extra £110m to support Welsh businesses affected by new restrictions

The Welsh Government is making an extra £110m available to support businesses affected by the alert level four restrictions, which will come into force from the end of trading on Christmas Eve.

The new restrictions will mean all non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres, will close from end of trading on Christmas Eve, with hospitality businesses following at 6pm on Christmas Day.

The new support package – which is addition to the £340m already available to businesses under alert level three – will help 35,500 firms.

Businesses in the hospitality and non-essential retail sector, which are impacted by the new restrictions, receive small business rates relief and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £3,000 payment.

Hospitality and non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £150,000 will be eligible for a £5,000 payment.

Tourism, leisure, retail and supply chain businesses in the same rateable value bracket will also be eligible for this support if their turnover has fallen by 40% or more during the restriction period.

Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language Eluned Morgan made the announcement at today’s Welsh Government press conference.

She said: “We are making incredibly difficult but necessary decisions to protect the health and lives of our people.

“We recognise these decisions have a knock-on effect on our economy and this will be another blow to many businesses who have had to deal with so much during this incredibly challenging year.

“To support businesses affected by these latest restrictions we are making a further £110m available. We expect around 35,500 businesses in Wales will benefit from this support.”

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “This latest package is in addition to the £340m for businesses we announced at the end of November, taking our total package of business support during this pandemic to more than £2bn.

“Our financial assistance has already helped protect thousands of companies and safeguarded 125,000 jobs. We are working hard to get funds out to businesses quickly as possible and in the last two weeks alone, almost £20m has landed in the bank accounts of our businesses.

“The vital additional support being announced today will be administered by local authorities and the Welsh Local Government Association and I want to thank them for their ongoing hard work and efforts to ensure money reaches businesses quickly.

“Sadly rising coronavirus cases mean we must take action now to drive the virus down. We recognise this is hugely challenging for businesses, but as a government, we will continue to do all that we can to protect them, our people and our communities through these difficult days.”

Eligible hospitality and non-essential retail businesses, which registered for non-domestic rate support during the firebreak will be paid directly through their local authority. All other eligible businesses and those businesses, which did not register during the firebreak, will need to do so with their local authority in January with payment following soon after.

Businesses not eligible for non-domestic rates will be able to continue to apply to local authorities for a Lockdown Discretionary Grant of up to £2,000.