Last week during Plenary, local Member of the Welsh Parliament, Nick Ramsay, in his role a Shadow Finance Minister questioned the Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans MS on how the Welsh Government would be ensuring that adequate finance is in place to plug any gaps faced by Welsh businesses during the firebreak lockdown. Nick expressed his concern that businesses might end up having to plug the wage gap themselves, or, in the worst-case scenario, make workers redundant.
Addressing the Finance Minister Nick said:” It's certainly not a satisfactory situation. Ian Price, the director of the Confederation of British Industry has said that it appears that some people may well be falling through the cracks between the job retention scheme and the job support scheme, whilst Ben Cottam of Federation of Small Businesses Wales has said that 'the amount of confusion surrounding this...illustrates just how complex' all of this can be to a small employer in Wales.
Nick added:“ Looking to the future now, businesses have been promised access to funding of up to £5,000 each in some cases through the current package of support that's on offer. What discussions have you had with the Minister for Economy to ensure this money is made available to businesses as swiftly as possible?”
Rebecca Evans MS replied: “I have regular discussions with the Minister for Economy and Transport on support for businesses in Wales, and we've sought to create a scheme here that provides local authorities with the ability to move these grants on to businesses as soon as possible. Some of them, obviously, will be automatic, in terms of supporting those businesses that are subject to small business rate relief. What I would do is encourage businesses to ensure that the local authorities have their up-to-date details. I know that that held up a few payments previously, so that would be something that I would encourage businesses to do. But we're working very closely with local authorities, and I can't express enough my thanks to the workers in local authorities who last time got the grants out to businesses so quickly and efficiently, and I know that they will do the same again—many of them going above and beyond, working long hours to do that. So, I'd like to put on record my real thanks for that.”