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£120m financial support for businesses in Wales impacted by Omicron

Written by on 23rd December 2021

Businesses in Wales impacted by the rapid spread of the Omicron virus will be eligible for emergency financial support under a new Welsh Government support package.

The Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced the details of the £120m funding which will be available for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism business and their supply chains affected by the move to alert level two, as announced by the First Minister on Wednesday 22 December.

Under the latest package, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism business who pay Non Domestic Rates will be entitled to a payment of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000 depending on their rateable value. Businesses will need to re-register their details, through a quick and easy online process, with their local authority in order to receive their payments. Registration will open via local authority websites from the WC 10th of January

The Welsh Government has decided to extend this support to non-essential retail so that smaller shops, and Travel Agents will be supported and our high streets can continue to thrive. In England, support is not available to non-essential retail.

In addition, impacted hospitality and leisure businesses and their supply chains will be able to apply for top up funding from a new Economic Resilience Fund (ERF). Eligible businesses can apply for grants of between £2,500k – £25,000, with grants dependant on their size and number of employees. The application window for ERF will open in week commencing 17th January 2022 with payments starting to reach businesses within days.

Local Authorities will also administer a Discretionary fund for business and sole traders who do not pay rates. The fund will provide £500 to sole trader and freelancers and £2,000 to employing businesses in impacted sectors.  Further details to follow on business.wales.

An eligibility checker which will help businesses to gage how much they can expect to receive under the new support package will be available on the Business Wales website by the start of 2022.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“We fully understand the continued challenges faced by businesses, however we are facing a very serious situation in Wales. A wave of infections caused by the new, fast-moving and very-infectious omicron variant is headed our way, this means taking early action to try and control its spread – and limit the impact on Welsh businesses.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve provided over £2.2bn of support to businesses throughout Wales to help them manage their way through difficult circumstances.

“We will continue to monitor the impact of the spread of Omicron on businesses in Wales, and will consider whether additional emergency funding is needed in the new year.”

Business.Wales will be updated with details, frequently asked question and support guidance.

  • The £120m package is designed to support businesses impacted by the spread of Omicron through the period from 13th December to the 14th February. This timeframe is linked to the expected impact of Omicron on Welsh businesses. It is not based on the expectation that restrictions will continue into mid –February
  • As a result of the new emergency support packages, the Welsh Government is withdrawing its £35m Business Support Fund, announced in November, in order to re-allocate and process emergency payments as soon as possible. All existing offers will of course be honoured.
  • A £3m Spectator Sports Fund will also be available to support clubs and sporting venues affected by the new measures to protect public health.
  • Discretionary fund – Local authorities will also deliver a £10m discretionary fund via a short application process.  Sole traders, freelancers and taxi drivers will be able to apply for £500 and businesses that employee people but do not pay business rates can apply for £2,000.
  • Non Essential Retail Hospitality Leisure and Tourism businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £2,000
  • Non Essential Retail Hospitality Leisure and Tourism businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will be eligible for a £4,000 payment if impacted by the restrictions.
  • Non Essential Retail Hospitality Leisure and Tourism businesses with a rateable value of between £51,001 and £500,000 will be eligible for a £6,000 payment if impacted by the restrictions.
  • Qualifying supply chain businesses will be eligible for support if they have a greater than 40% reduction in turnover during the restriction period.

From Boxing Day, the alert level two measures will mean:

  • A general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces, where reasonable.
  • The rule of six will apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
  • All licensed premises will need to take additional measures to protect customers and staff, including table service and collecting contact details.
  • Face coverings will be required in hospitality settings at all times apart from when seated.
  • Large events will not be allowed indoors or outdoors. The maximum number of people who can gather at an indoor event will be 30 and 50 outdoors.
  • There will be an exception for team sports, up to 50 spectators will be able to gather, in addition to those taking part. There is also an exception for events involving children