UPDATE: Welsh Government support for businesses affected by firebreak lockdown

20 Oct 2020

Following the announcement of a two week “firebreak” lockdown by the Welsh Government a package of support for affected businesses has been announced. 

While details at this stage are sparse the key features of the package as we currently understand them are:

  • The third phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund is being enhanced from the originally announced £140 million to £300 million

  • All businesses in Wales which qualify for Small Business Rates Relief will receive an automatic grant of £1,000

  • Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.

  • There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses, which are struggling.

  • The third phase of the Economic Resilience Fund, which will look to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased from £80m to £100m, which includes £20m ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

  • Details of the original announcement on the third phase of the Economic Resilience Fund can be found here..

It is not at this stage entirely clear how this expansion of the scheme interacts with the second part of the originally announced third phase of the fund which provided for up to £60 million in grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns, applications for which were to be made through the relevant local authority’s webpages.  We will provide further details on this and other aspects of this new package as they become available.

Job Support Scheme

As a reminder on 9 October the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an expansion of the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) to cover businesses affected by local lockdowns.  The intent of the scheme was to provide for businesses affected by measures introduced by an of the 4 UK governments and so we fully expect the scheme will be applicable to businesses affected by this new Wales-wide lockdown. 

At the time of writing the published information is clear that the expanded JSS is still intended to start from 1 November as originally announced, irrespective of the Welsh lockdown.  The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) continues to be available to businesses until 31 October although this is only available in respect of previously furloughed employees and will not be of assistance for those employees who have not to date been furloughed. 

We understand the Welsh Government has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask that the JSS be opened for Welsh businesses from Friday in view of the Welsh lockdown – it remains to be seen whether this request meets with any sympathy from Central Government.

More details are set out via the link below which we published shortly after the Chancellor announced the extension to the JSS:

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