The Welsh Government has announced a number of measures to support organisations through the coronavirus pandemic.
This includes the Third Sector Resilience Fund, support for the cultural creative and sports sectors, the Economic Resilience Fund, business rates relief for organisations in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and cash grants for organisations in these sectors. This is in addition to the measures that apply on a UK basis (see the COVID-19 information hub for more information).
Third Sector Resilience Fund
To help voluntary organisations stay in business, working with Welsh Government WCVA have introduced the Third Sector Resilience Fund for Wales to provide cash flow support to help organisations through the current crisis. The fund is part of the £24m of support announced by Welsh Government and will involve a blend of 75% grant and 25% initially interest free loan to be available to incorporated voluntary sector organisations towards the costs of ongoing revenue expenditure, including salaries. Organisations can apply for up to £75,000.
This fund is designed to support those voluntary sector organisations that need financial support to survive the current crisis primarily because of an unprecedented fall in their fundraising and donation income. We realise that many organisations will have a mix of fundraising/donation income and trading income. If your financial situation is predominately because of a loss in trading income, your first port of call should be the grant support made available by Welsh Government rather than this funding.
There may also be certain sector specific funds available to you e.g. Arts Council of Wales, Sport Wales, etc. However, if there is a reason why you can’t access this support as a voluntary sector organisation then we may still be able to support you. Regardless of the reason for the fall in your income, on top of this the fund offers a bridging loan option of up to £25,000 to tide voluntary organisations over while waiting for furlough reimbursements from the Government.
Principles of the fund
- This is a Wales-wide support fund for those affected by COVID19 and specifically tailored for the voluntary sector, to complement the various other schemes already announced here and UK-wide
- It is designed to ensure that voluntary sector organisations stay in business – it is an aid to survival
- It is not intended to duplicate provision offered elsewhere and applicants will be required to confirm that there is no ‘double funding’ taking place
- It is not about replacing lost income – it is about providing sufficient funds to cover essential expenditure not covered by any residual income or by other supportive interventions. ‘The funding of last resort’
Sector specific financial support and advice
There has been several announcements from Welsh and UK Governments with support packages for businesses, but in addition there are a number of Sectors where specific advice is required, and where specific financial support has been put in place.
Economic Resilience Fund
The Economic Resilience Fund is broken down as follows:
- £100m COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme administered by Development Bank of Wales (which is fully subscribed)
- £100m fund to support microbusinesses
- £300m fund to support SMEs and large businesses
Wales Business Loan Scheme
Unfortunately, the Development Bank of Wales (who administered the scheme) has stated that “Due to the unprecedented volumes of applications we’re now fully subscribed for the Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme.” As such, the bank is not providing any further loans.
The Business Loan Scheme provided loans between £5,000 to £250,000 for organisations experiencing cash flow problems as a result of coronavirus. All Wales-based SMEs who have been trading 2 years or longer, including sole traders, partnerships, limited companies as well as social enterprises, were eligible for the scheme.
Support for Microbusinesses
A grant of up to £10,000 is available to assist microbusinesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The grant is available to microbusinesses that are not eligible for the Business Rate Grant or the support for self-employed grant.
This grant can only be claimed by businesses that meet the following criteria:
- employing between 1 and 9 employees (In addition to the business owner)
- operating address in Wales and have employees in Wales
- VAT registered or sector/business exempt from VAT with a turnover greater than £85k
- have experienced a drop in turnover greater than >40% as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak (since the 1 March 2020)
- supported businesses must aim to maintain employment for 12 months
Support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
A grant of between £25,000 and £100,000 is available to assist qualifying SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees). The grant can only be claimed by businesses that meet the following criteria:
- Are VAT registered or sector/business exempt from VAT with a turnover greater than £85k
- Are headquartered in Wales or have an operating address in Wales that has full decision-making autonomy
- Have experienced a drop in turnover greater than 60% since 1st March 2020
- Are able to demonstrate the business / organisation will be sustainable for at least 12 months with a sustainable business plan to trade out of crisis
- Are viable entities able to confirm some access to funding to cover costs and can demonstrate attempts (successful or otherwise) to secure funding from wider sources (for example a bank, HMRC, Development Bank of Wales, UK Government loan facilities such as the Business Interruption Scheme or direct Bank of England support) before applying for this fund
- Are able to confirm that funding from any other Welsh Government non-repayable COVID-19 grant funding source is not being pursued
- Are able to demonstrate that without additional support the viability of the enterprise will be under threat including the number of jobs this support protects
- Undertake that for as long as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is in place, they will not make any future compulsory redundancies.
Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief in Wales 2020-21
The Welsh Government has published guidance on the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief in Wales 2020-21.
The scheme aims to provide support for eligible occupied properties by offering a discount of 100% on the non-domestic rates bill for a property, to all eligible premises. The scheme will apply to all eligible ratepayers with a rateable value of £500,000 or less.
Local authorities will decide how they wish to administer the relief, which will be available to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties. This includes charity shops, museums, theatres, galleries, historic houses, sport and leisure facilities, public halls etc (NB this is not an exhaustive list).
Covid-19 Grants for businesses registered to pay business rates in Wales
The Welsh Government has announced two grants to support businesses in Wales through the Coronavirus pandemic. The grants are available to organisations that are registered to pay rates on their premises on 20 March 2020. The guidance explains the scope of these schemes.
The Welsh Government is working in partnership with local authorities to deliver the grants to qualifying businesses.
- Grant 1: A grant of £25,000 is being made available for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000. This means businesses that occupy properties such as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation. This includes charity shops, museums, theatres, galleries, historic houses, sport and leisure facilities, public halls etc (NB this is not an exhaustive list)
- Grant 2: A £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for small business rates relief (SBRR) in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. Please note that the multiple property restriction which applies to Small Business Rates Relief also applies to this grant. Therefore, the same ratepayer may only receive the grant for a maximum of two properties in each local authority area. *Update*: Following representations by the Charity Retail Association and WCVA, supported by the Charity Tax Group, the Welsh Government has announced that thousands of small charities within the retail, leisure and hospitality sector will receive a £10,000 business support grant to help them respond to the financial challenges of Covid-19. The new £26 million package will support an additional 2,600 properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or below including charity run shops, sports premises and community centres.
Local authorities are administering these two grants in Wales. To find out more about how qualifying businesses can access a grant, you should visit the relevant local authority’s web page by clicking on the links below. Individual local authorities are in the process of developing their information and systems and as these become available the appropriate links will be added below. Please do not try to call your local authority. The information you need will be available online.