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Welsh Economic Resilience Fund – eligibility checker

The online eligibility checker for the Welsh Economic Resilience Fund is now available for businesses to check whether they may be entitled to apply for support under the scheme
 
As a reminder the fund was originally launched in April it was aimed at businesses which had not received support under the central government-backed schemes under which eligibility was linked to the business rates system.  The fund was unsurprisingly subject to exceptionally high demand and the Welsh Government took the decision to suspend the fund while it reconsidered how it might be best targeted.
 
The Welsh Government announced recently that the fund was to reopen for applications from 29 June and that a new eligibility checker tool would be released in advance of that deadline which reflected the updated criteria for applications.  The tool has now been released and is available via the following link:
 
 
We understand the plan remains for applications to reopen on 29 June.  Businesses which solely supply what is described as “core product from the agricultural sector” i.e. crops, milk or livestock are not eligible under the scheme. 
 
The full eligibility criteria can be accessed as the tool is completed, but in summary there are essentially two levels of support available:
 

Micro businesses

• Businesses with 9 or fewer employees
• Confirmation is provided that funding from any other Welsh Government non-repayable grant funding source is not being pursued; 
• In excess of a 40% reduction in turnover since 1 March 2020 has been experienced; 
• Not eligible for business rate relief; and
• Operating address is in Wales and has employees in Wales.
• A sustainable plan exists to trade beyond the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Not eligible for the (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme” through the UK Government 
• Applicant businesses and organisation will be expected to align with the ethos and principles of the Welsh Government’s Economic Contract 
 
For micro businesses which are companies the business must in addition meet the following criteria:
 
• Companies House registered
• Meet two of the three of the below: 
• Are VAT registered or exempt
• Employing people using PAYE
• Must have a turnover of at least £50,000
 
For micro businesses which are unincorporated businesses the additional criteria are:
 
• VAT registered or sector exempt from VAT with a turnover greater than £85k
• Employing people using PAYE
 

Medium-sized businesses

• Businesses with more than 9 and less than 250 employees
• Confirmation is provided that funding from any other Welsh Government non-repayable grant funding source is not being pursued; 
• In excess of a 60% reduction in turnover since 1 March 2020 has been experienced;
• Not eligible for business rate relief, or if it is, the amount would be deducted from the allocation from this fund; 
• Operating address in Wales and has employees in Wales;
• VAT registered or sector exempt from VAT with a turnover greater than £85k
• A sustainable business plan exists to trade beyond the COVID-19 pandemic;
• You will be required to demonstrate that you have either already accessed funding from your Bank (including the British Business Bank offer), or set out why you have not been able to, for example a deferred application 
• Confirm no future compulsory redundancies will be made as long as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is in place. 
• Applicant businesses and organisation will be expected to align with the ethos and principles of the Welsh Government’s Economic Contract 
 
WR comment – it is heartening to see the Welsh Government continuing to support Welsh businesses which have been adversely affected by Coronavirus and have missed out on previous funding rounds.  While applications are not currently planned to open until 29 June businesses should start considering now whether they will be eligible to apply for funding.  Experience from the previous incarnation of the fund clearly shows demand will be high and funds will not be unlimited so early applications are strongly recommended.
 
In applying businesses should consider carefully some of the requirements.  For medium sized businesses evidence should be retained to demonstrate they have explored their options for bank funding (whether successful or not).  Again the requirement to confirm no compulsory redundancies will be made while the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) is in place should also be carefully considered.  This has the potential to restrict flexibility for businesses as the furlough scheme is phased out and an increasing element of the costs for furloughed employees will be borne by the employer.  
 
Finally the implications of aligning with the ethos and principles of the Welsh Government’s Economic Contract should not be overlooked.  Details of that contract can be found at the link below – before applying businesses should ensure they are comfortable with its contents.
 
 

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