AROUND 75,000 jobs in Wales have been protected during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to a fund providing grants to businesses, the Welsh Government has said.

Economy minister Ken Skates has said the Welsh Government's Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has seen £150m in grants handed out to more than 9,000 businesses across the country.

Of this, almost £138 million has been given to 'micro' and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), the minister said.

“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," he said. "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 fund is part of a £1.7 billion package of Welsh Government support for businesses, including £750 million of business rate relief.

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

A separate £5 million 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.

Mr 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.”