COVID-19 SUPPORT: Daily Update – Monday 6 April 2020

COVID-19 SUPPORT: Daily Update – Monday 6 April 2020

Additional £20 million funding was announced on Friday to boost the UK’s resilience to coronavirus and similar future circumstances

Business that could help protect against the long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak and future incidents are to benefit from £20 million government funding announced on Friday.

Grants of up to £50,000 are to be made available to technology and research and development businesses. This is to encourage new ways of working and to help develop resilience in key industries such as food manufacturing, delivery services, retail and transport and support for people at home.

The types of innovations described in the government’s press release on Friday include the development of new technology to allow retailers to respond better to spikes in consumer demand and to improve deliveries across the UK, creating education tools to integrate the classroom with the kitchen table so that teachers can set takes remotely, as well as supporting vulnerable children and services for families to connect with elderly or vulnerable relatives.

Proposals are to be reviewed as part of a competition launched by Innovate UK. The competition closes on Friday 17 April 2020 at 12pm and all projects will begin by June 2020 to last up to 6 months, with products and services to be made available to the public towards the end of the year.

In order to start a new application, please click here.

Welsh Government short term funding for Cardiff Airport

The Welsh government has announced additional financial support to help Cardiff Airport facing the impacts of the Covid-19 virus.

On Friday, the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates said that the Welsh government would release the minimum amounts of the existing loan arrangement necessary to keep the airport operating and to maintain its solvency. The existing loan arrangement between the Welsh government and Cardiff Airport is worth £28 million and the support announced on Friday is part of the £21.2 million commercial loan arrangement that was agreed in September last year.

The CEO of Cardiff airport, Deb Bowen Rees, said that by drawing down on the commercial loan, the airport should be in a stronger position to weather the storm presented by the pandemic. Despite the announcement of the short-term funding however, Ken Skates has called on the UK government to provide more financial assistance to smaller regional airports.

Updated guidance for Business Support Grant Funding

The government has updated its guidance on the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) in relation to State Aid.

On Friday the government set out that the SBGF will be primarily managed under existing state aid rules permitting De-Minimis Aid, meaning that applicants can receive up to 200,000 euros of aid within a three-year period. Where this threshold has been reached or would be reached by accepting SBGF, then a business can receive the £10,000 grant under the EU Commission’s new Covid-19 Temporary Framework for State Aid measures published on 19 March (as long as the relevant conditions have been satisfied).

The RHLGF will be given as aid too under the Temporary Framework to support the economy. If a business has been offered RHLGF, it can only receive up to 800,000 euros under the Temporary Framework and must also confirm that it was not an undertaking in distress as at 31 December 2019.

Both grants are required to comply with the EU law on State Aid and further guidance can be found here.

Please see our daily updated Financial Support Guide for Businesses for futher information-  COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

For more information on any of the points raised, please contact our corporate team.

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