Commenting on the recent UK Government announcement on further support for businesses dealing with the impact of coronavirus, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“The Chancellor’s most recent announcement is a significant intervention, and it is reassuring to hear that he has pledged to do more in the days ahead.
“One thing that firms in Wales desperately need governments to understand is that businesses – and therefore jobs and livelihoods – are under threat today. This means that government support needs to be available now, there is simply no way to justify anything less.
“Welsh Government has, in recent days, outlined support and stated that there is more detail to come which FSB Wales has welcomed, but we are fast approaching a point where this won’t meet the demand of this situation. Businesses are facing incredibly difficult decisions right now, and our governments need to be equipped to move at the same pace.
“We’ve registered the concerns from Welsh Government over whether there is enough money available in order to apply the level of business support that they want to. It is the very clear expectation of Welsh businesses that Welsh Government and UK Treasury will move quickly to resolve any shortfall to ensure that businesses can have the confidence that the resources to support them are there. Welsh and UK Government need to demonstrate that they are working together seamlessly in the weeks to come, and that announcements can be made in a way that complement one another, rather than constantly leaving a question mark over Wales.
“On business rates, we would now expect Welsh Government to move swiftly to emulate the UK Government level of business rates relief for England.
“Similarly, Welsh Government must set out with urgency how it will use the £1.1 billion that has been promised by UK Government. In particular, we need a small business grant scheme that is up and running and providing support on the ground. We cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is to move swiftly on this – we must help businesses with cash flow, so that they can keep the wheels moving and protect jobs wherever possible.
“On the planning relaxation announced by UK Government, which will allow pubs and restaurants to very quickly offer takeaways, we must also see similar relaxation of planning rules here in Wales
“This situation is unfolding very quickly and businesses are dealing with the blunt reality of the changes that our society is facing in the coming weeks and months as we all seek to pull together and manage the coronavirus outbreak. Welsh Government and UK Government together must demonstrate that they understands the very pressing needs of business at this critical time, and are able to move quickly and efficiently support our smaller firms.”