£180m Fund for Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Businesses Opens

The Welsh Government’s latest £180m Economic Resilience Fund package to support tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions will open for applications at 12 noon today (13 January). 

The government says the funding, announced in December, is part of a live £450m package of support that the, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors, as well as their supply chain, can access and will provide vital support to thousands of firms impacted by alert level 3 and 4 restrictions. The £180m is in addition to a £270m support package for businesses that pay non-domestic rates, which includes non-essential retail businesses, and is being delivered via local authorities. 

The Welsh Government estimates that under the package of support a typical hospitality business in Wales with the equivalent of six full-time staff could be eligible to receive between £12,000 and £14,000 in total, making it the most generous offer in the UK.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Accelerating coronavirus rates meant we have had to make difficult but necessary decisions to protect people’s health and save lives. We know these decisions have a knock-on effect on our businesses and there is no doubt that latest restrictions mean very real challenges for firms who have already had to deal with so much.

“We are committed to doing all we can to protect our businesses during this very challenging time. Our package of support is the most generous in the UK and since the beginning of the pandemic more than £1.6bn of Welsh Government financial assistance has reached businesses.

“Many hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail businesses have already received payments of £3,000 or £5,000 in the last month and this additional funding will be absolutely crucial in supporting eligible businesses through the difficult weeks ahead.”

The amount a company can claim from the £180m sector specific fund will be calculated based on staff count and turnover. The fund is expected to support up to 8,000 hospitality, tourism and leisure firms impacted by the restrictions and potentially a further 2,000 in related supply chains. 

An eligibility checker and calculator has been live on Business Wales since December to help businesses work out what support they can expect to qualify for in total and the detail they will need to make an application. Further guidance was also issued last week. 

Since the end of October alone, more than 69,000 offers of support worth in excess of £230m have been made to businesses across Wales through the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund. 

Welsh Government support has already protected more than 125,000 jobs that might otherwise have been lost.

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “We are fully aware, not least from our hospitality stakeholder group, of the impact of the restrictions that we have had to bring in. This was not the Christmas period that any of us had hoped for, but I would urge businesses to take advantage of the help available. 

“We will continue to do everything we can to support our firms and our people through to the other side of this dreadful pandemic.”

Further information and details on how to make an application for the package of business support is available on the Business Wales website.  The fund will remain open for two weeks or until funds are fully committed.

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health, and blogs at www.nigel-summerley.blogspot.com.

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