TRADERS in Chepstow have called for improved communication from the Welsh Government over grants to support businesses through lockdown.

Non-essential retailers were told to close at the end of trading on December 19.

Businesses which had been told to close were eligible for support grants, but were not told for how long this support would have to last, or for how long they needed to remain closed.


Dawn Floyd, from St Mary’s Collectables, said there should’ve been more clarity over how long the support was supposed to tide businesses over.

“This was the busiest week of the year for most people,” she said. “That week was supposed to be able to see us through January.

“We were told we would get a grant to support us in January. We were not told how long this grant would have to last though.

Dawn Floyd at St Marys Collectables

Dawn Floyd at St Mary's Collectables

Dawn Floyd at St Mary's Collectables.

“We can’t negotiate on paying our bills if we don’t know when we will receive the money.

“The announcement on Friday [January 29] is 43 days after the last money was announced.

“Businesses have rents and mortgages and all their other costs too. 43 days is a long time.

“All [the Welsh Government] have to do is update businesses and be honest so they know where they are.

“There is going to be an awful lot of businesses that go under because of this.”

“It’s been a bit of a nightmare,” said Lisa Roberts, of J’Adore. “Had they shut us down just after Christmas, it might not have been so bad.

“We rely on that trade in particular to see us through the quieter months. The grants wouldn’t cover anywhere near what we lost from that week, let alone get us through January.

Jadore owners Lisa Roberts (left) and Rachel McGee. Picture: Lisa Roberts.

J'adore owners Lisa Roberts (left) and Rachel McGee. Picture: Lisa Roberts.

J'adore owners Lisa Roberts (left) and Rachel McGee. Picture: Lisa Roberts.

“We don’t know where we are at the moment: we don’t know when we can reopen; we don’t know whether to buy stock; we are left with lots of Christmas stock that we’d have sold in that week.

“If we even had an idea, at least you can work towards that goal. We just don’t know anything.

“Communication could be a lot better, and simplifying how you get these grants would help.”

On Friday, first minister Mark Drakeford announced a further £200 million package of support for non-essential retailers to last until March 31.

Mr Drakeford said he had “absolute sympathy” with businesses which had been forced to close, but disagreed that the Welsh Government could’ve been clearer about how long the support was for.

“I think we were clear with people that the help we provided up until now was meant to last until the end of January, and the additional help that I was able to announce, that will be designed to tide businesses over to the end of March,” he said.

“So businesses in Wales now know that help is there for them to the end of this financial year.

“I've got absolute sympathy with these businesses. The amount of help we are able to offer would not be what they would have hoped to raise themselves and they'd much rather be working than waiting for help from the Welsh Government.

“As soon as it is safe to do so we will want those businesses to be back in operation.

“Our help is designed to tide them over through these difficult months so that they are still there able to resume trading when conditions are safe for that to happen.”