COVID-19 SUPPORT: Daily Update – Thursday 2 April 2020

COVID-19 SUPPORT: Daily Update – Thursday 2 April 2020

Further support for Welsh businesses

The Welsh Government has announced further support for Welsh businesses amidst the Coronavirus outbreak. The new support packages will build upon the relief already available to businesses through the UK and Welsh Governments.

The new schemes are targeted towards businesses in the creative, culture and sport sectors, and will include the following:

  • a £7 million Arts Resilience Fund to support artists and arts organisations;
  • an £8 million Sport Resilience Fund to support sports clubs and partner networks in Wales;
  • a £1 million Creative Wales Fund to provide support for grassroots music venues (up to £25,000 per business) and to support the TV and publishing sector in funding future activities;
  • a £1 million Cultural Resilience Fund for museums, collections, conservation services, archives and community and public libraries;
  • a £750,000 Emergency Relief Fund, which will support the smallest and most in need businesses in the independent sector and the sport, museum and heritage sectors; and
  • a £250,000 Digital Library Resources scheme, to support public libraries in providing additional digital resources.

The schemes will be administered by the Welsh Government, Sports Wales, and the Arts College for Wales. Further details on the schemes are expected to be released in due course.

Support for Welsh farmers  

The Welsh Government has announced proposals to support farmers in Wales experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic, including changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

Farmers in Wales will be given an extra month to submit their Single Application Form (SAF), with the deadline now extended to 15 June 2020. The Welsh Government has confirmed it will also scrap crop diversification requirements for BPS 2020.

The BPS and Glastir 2019 support scheme, which supports farmers who are yet to receive their BPS and/or Glastir payments for 2019, has also been re-opened, and theWelsh Government has set aside £5.5m for the scheme.

Finally, a new “FarmWell Wales” resource has been launched, which contains information and advice for farmers to help keep farm businesses running during the Coronavirus pandemic and to promote forward-looking planning.

Financial Conduct Authority proposes temporary consumer credit relief

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today proposed a range of measures to provide relief to those who are financially impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The proposals include a three-month freeze on loan and credit card payments, and a zero-interest overdraft of up to £500 for eligible consumers.

It is proposed that the details of these reliefs are finalised, and the scheme rolled-out, by 9 April 2020.

Problems with the emergency loan scheme

There have been a number of reported “teething problems” with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme, with many small businesses unable or unwilling to access emergency loans.

One of the key early issues with the scheme has been the requirement by some lenders that borrowers personally guarantee the loans, which has reportedly deterred some business owners from utilising the relief.

Administrative issues have also been reported, with banks struggling to cope with the number of enquiries made by customers in the first few days resulting in significant delays and, in some cases, businesses being unable to speak to an advisor.

The Government is reportedly preparing to change the scheme rules, including scrapping the requirement that banks lend to businesses on normal commercial terms where possible. The British Business Bank is also working to fast-track accreditation to increase the number of lenders participating in the scheme.

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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