The Welsh Government’s bespoke Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has helped to protect more than 100,000 jobs across Wales during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.
To date, the fund has delivered almost £300m of support to more than 13,000 companies in Wales, which has been vital in helping businesses manage the challenges and economic impacts of coronavirus.
These include companies such as Mono Equipment in Swansea; Deganwy-based Robertson Geologging; MII Engineering Limited, in Caerphilly and Wrexham firm F Bender, which have all received financial assistance from the ERF helping to safeguard jobs and protect their workforces.
The ERF is part of the Welsh Government’s £1.7bn support package for businesses, which complements and builds on the help available from the UK Government.
And to support businesses through the autumn and winter – and through the end of the Brexit transition period – Economy Minister Ken Skates today announced more flexible terms for firms borrowing from the Development Bank of Wales’ Flexible Investment Fund.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“We are committed to supporting businesses through this incredibly challenging time.
“That’s why we worked quickly to develop and deliver this unique fund for Wales which has provided a much needed lifeline to more than 13,000 companies here.
“That support has helped to safeguard more than 100,000 jobs in companies across Wales. That’s 100,000 people whose careers and livelihoods might otherwise have been at risk.
“We re-examined our budgets and made some tough decisions to establish the ERF, but these figures clearly show the enormous difference it’s made.”
Andrew Jones, managing director, of Swansea-based Mono Equipment, said:
“We are grateful for the support from Welsh Government during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has greatly assisted us in charting our way through these unprecedented times.”
F Bender Limited managing director Andy Cunliffe said:
“With our markets slowly returning we firmly believe the Welsh Government funding has played a significant role in helping protect our Wrexham workforce. We remain in uncertain and challenging times, but this funding gives us great support in the current climate and we are thankful for it.”
To support businesses further as they deal with the ongoing challenges caused by both coronavirus and the changes and uncertainties associated with the UK’s exit from the EU, the Economy Minister is today also announcing more flexible terms for firms borrowing from the Development Bank of Wales’ Flexible Investment Fund.
The Development Bank will have discretion to extend the loan period for some companies to up to 15 years, helping them to spread the costs of their borrowing further. The investment limit of the fund will also be doubled from £5m to £10m.
The Minister added:
“These changes are another example of how we are listening and responding to business need. They will offer businesses increased flexibility, meaning they can access more financial support and having longer to repay – flexibility, which we know is welcome at this challenging time.
“The Welsh Government has helped thousands of companies through these dark days and we will continue to back business with a proactive and responsive support package. I hope to be able to announce more details of these plans later this month.”