The Welsh Government today announced that the Development Bank of Wales will ‘get funds out of the door this month’ to ensure businesses that have been approved through its £100million loan scheme will receive funds as soon as possible.
In today’s Welsh Government coronavirus press conference, Ken Stakes AM, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, addressed questions on how and when the Covid-19 pandemic business finance schemes would be allocated to businesses – and what will happen to those who fall through the gaps.
- The Minister referred to a recent report by the OBR which predicts UK GDP falling by 35% in the second quarter of 2020 and said a recession is unavoidable.
- The Welsh Government has received more than 7,500 applications for support to the Economic Resilience Fund and in just seven days the Development Bank for Wales has had to process 1,500 Loan Scheme applications when in an average year it processes 500.
- In conjunction with The Open University, the Welsh Government is able to offer more than 1,000 free short online courses and people should be encouraged to get ahead and use this lockdown period to sharpen their tools.
Further support: key headlines from today’s conference:
- The Minister, Ken Skates AM, said the OBR depicts UK GDP falling by 35% in the second quarter of 2020 so there is no avoiding a recession, but it is possible to work against a depression. He encouraged all businesses to look at Business Wales’ website to see what business support is available to them.
- The Minister said the funding support Welsh Government is making available through the Economic Resilience Fund is additional to that provided by the UK Government and he said local authorities have now made available 35,000 business rate grants, totalling £441 million.
- The Minister said the Welsh Government has received more than 7,500 applications for support to the Economic Resilience Fund and in just seven days the Development Bank for Wales has had to process 1,500 applications for support when in an average year it processes 500.
- The Minister said he expects 80% of the 1,500-1,600 applications made to the £100 million Development Bank Loan Scheme to be successful and the Development Bank expects to get all of that support out the door this very month. He said the Welsh Government’s business support is now reaching almost one in five Welsh businesses.
- The Minister said some high street banks are too slow in adapting their ways of working and they need to process applications much faster, like the Development Bank, to get support where it is needed quicker.
- The Minister said, in conjunction with The Open University, the Welsh Government is able to offer more than 1,000 free short online courses and he encouraged people to get ahead and use this lockdown period to sharpen their tools.
- The Minister said businesses that apply for Welsh Government support must comply with the two metre social distancing regulations and if they don’t then they will not receive the government’s support. He said the Welsh Government is working with business organisations and trade unions to ensure irresponsible behaviour is identified and stopped. He said the overwhelming majority of businesses are acting responsibly in this regard.
- The Minister said the Welsh Government has a daily dashboard that’s updated daily with intelligence regarding jobs at risk, businesses at risk and business failures, but this isn’t released into the public domain. He said the figure that’s best worth reflecting on is the OBR figure and the contracting of the economy by 35% in the second quarter of 2020.