Welsh Government releases further £100m for businesses after 'unprecedented' demand for support

The Welsh Government said it has seen an "unprecedented" demand in businesses needing financial support during the coronavirus pandemic.

It said it received more than 6,000 applications for grants within 24 hours of launching a funding support scheme, "an unprecedented response".

A further £100m in funding has been released as part of a £500m fund to provide support to the Welsh economy, businesses and charities.

The Economic Resilience Fund aims to "complement and fill the gaps" left by the UK Government's Job Retention Scheme, which opened for applications on Monday.

Under the UK Government furlough scheme, employers can go online to claim cash grants worth up to 80 per cent of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker.

A gang of goats has been spotted strolling around the deserted streets of Llandudno during the nationwide lockdown. Credit: PA Images

Many businesses across Wales were forced after the UK Government imposed a lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The streets in Llandudno are so quiet that a herd of mountain goats, which normally spend their time on the Great Orme, have been seen roaming the town.

The Economic Resilience Fund will provide non-repayable grants to micro-businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises and large businesses of critical, social or economic importance to Wales.

The money has come from existing Welsh Government budgets after the Finance Minister held individual talks with every minister to see how much could be diverted.

Ministers said they have "worked hard" to free up resources despite "huge demands" on the budget.

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said: "The rate of applications has been massive and unprecedented.

"This is the second time in a matter of weeks that access to Welsh Government funds aimed at easing cash flow pressures for Welsh business have quickly reached capacity.

"Though we applaud much of what the UK Government has done, there is an urgent need to see more of the promised lending guaranteed by the UK Government getting to the front line."

Some businesses have already received funding from the Welsh Government. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director of IOD Wales said: “Today’s announcement by Welsh Government will come as very welcome news for business owners and managers who are desperate for all the help that they can get at this difficult time."

The UK Government said its funding scheme will "protect millions of jobs across the country."

UK Government Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "It’s vital that our economy gets up and running again as soon as it’s safe – and this scheme will allow that to happen.”

The Chancellor earlier announced the scheme will be extended for a further month until the end of June in light of the ongoing nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

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