THE first businesses to sign up for the Welsh Government's Economic Resilience Fund will start receiving grant payments next week.

The £500 million fund is supporting businesses, charities, and social enterprises during the coronavirus outbreak by easing cash-flow issues.

It was designed for those businesses not supported by other schemes already announced by the UK government, Welsh Government, and Development Bank of Wales.

Since it opened to applications a week ago, the second phase of the fund has received almost 9,000 requests for support.

Wales' economy minister Ken Skates said demand for the fund "speaks volumes about the scale of the national crisis".

Around 700 applications are being appraised daily, and the fund will be paused at midday on Monday 27 April following the very large number of applications.

“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," Mr Skates said.

“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."

Mr Skates also urged the UK government to widen its support for businesses during this period of uncertainty.

“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.”