TRADERS in locked-down areas of Wales can apply to a new £60 million Welsh Government fund to see their businesses through the period of local restrictions.

Wales' economy minister announced the new fund today (Monday) as part of a new series of support packages to protect firms from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of a winter that will be "difficult for all of us", Ken Skates said the Welsh Government's new support schemes could mean the difference between "business survival and business death" for thousands of traders.

The new Rapid Reaction (Local Lockdown) Fund, worth up to £60 million, will be open to traders in the areas of Wales where local restrictions have placed further pressures on the economy following months of national lockdown.


Tomorrow, there will be 12 council areas in Wales in local lockdown, and Mr Skates said it would be likely "a rolling programme of restrictions" would continue to be used in response to local increases in cases of Covid-19.

The Welsh Government's "dynamic" approach will include grants of £1,500 will be available to retail, leisure and hospitality businesses – with a rateable value of £12,001–£51,000 – that have seen a "material impact" due to local restrictions.

Grants of £1,000 will be available to small businesses, with a rateable value of £12,000 or less, who can demonstrate local lockdown rules have had a material impact.

Additionally, five per cent of the £60 million fund will be available to locked-down local authorities to support affected businesses not registered to pay business rates. Those firms can receive discretionary grants of £1,500.

The economy minister also announced a new, £80 million fund as the third stage of the Welsh Government's Economic Resilience Fund (ERF), which he said had to date secured 100,000 jobs in Wales and supported 14,000 small- and medium-sized businesses.

The new funding will complement the UK government's Job Support Scheme, which will replace the furlough scheme next month.

But while the first two stages of the ERF helped businesses "hibernate" through the early months of the national lockdown, Mr Skates said the new stage was about looking forward to the "post-covid economy".

"It will be more than just getting through – it's about the potential to thrive in the future, not just survive in the present," he said.

The next ERF stage will require co-investment (match-funding) from businesses, who will also need to provide a "clear adjustment plan" if they are to be eligible for support.

  • Grants of up to £10,000 will be available to micro-businesses that employ up to nine people on the condition they match this with their own investment (match-funding) of at least 10 per cent.
  • Grants of up to £150,000 will be available to small- and medium-sized businesses. Small firms must contribute 10 per cent match-funding investment, and medium firms 20 per cent.
  • Grants of up to £200,000 will be available to larger businesses that employ more than 250 people, with 50 per cent match-funding required.

Additionally, £20 million of the £80 million fund will be ring-fenced for the tourism and hospitality sector that has been hit hard by the public health crisis, to "give them a pathway through to spring in 2021".

Applications will be open by the end of October.