The Chairman of the Cross Party Group on Small Shops - Janet Finch-Saunders MS – is putting pressure on the Welsh Government to do more to help the self-employed.
Her calls follow Ken Skates MS’s response to her Written Question asking the Welsh Government to develop a financial support scheme for those who do not qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The Minister advised that the Economic Resilience Fund has been paused to examine how to use the remaining funding, and that supporting those businesses which haven’t yet been reached is the primary concern.
Commenting on the situation, Mrs Finch-Saunders said:
“I welcome the fact that the Minister’s primary concern is supporting those businesses which existing support has not reached.
“These must include the self-employed, many of whom have been unable to apply for support via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
“From listening to the Minister’s statement yesterday, it seems that light is on the horizon as he explained that the eligibility for phase two of the paused Economic Resilience Fund will enable limited companies that are not VAT registered to access the fund, and that proposals are under development to assist start-ups.
“However, Ken needs to get his skates on. It cannot be right that the next phase will not open for applications until mid or late-June”.
Written Question by Janet:
Will the Minister consider developing a financial support scheme for self-employed people who do not qualify for the self-employed income support scheme?
Response by Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy, Transport, and North Wales:
Business in Wales are benefiting from the most extensive package of government support in the face of the Covid-19 crisis within the United Kingdom.
In addition to the support provided by the UK Government and the support for the leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors from Non-Domestic Rate Relief and associated grants, our £500 million Economic Resilience Fund is providing discretionary grant and loan finance to help businesses with cash flow. The Development Bank of Wales has already approved over 1,300 loans totalling £100 million and we are currently processing 9,500 grant applications with 5,200 grant offers totalling £69 million already made.
We took the decision to pause the Economic Resilience Fund on Monday 27 April to examine how we use the remaining funding to maximise the benefits for those firms who need it and to protect our economy.
As a government, we have a number of considerations to explore – supporting those businesses which we haven’t yet reached will be a primary concern.
In the meantime, we are calling on the UK Government to provide further financial support for Welsh firms and employees to help steer them through this incredibly difficult period.
Please refer to the Business Wales website for regular updates.