Cardiff Bay

A new £500 million fund has been launched by the Welsh Government designed to "plug the gaps" in support schemes already announced by the UK government.

The Economic Resilience Fund will support firms of all sizes, including social enterprises, with a focus on those which have not already benefited from the Coronavirus grants already announced by Welsh Government.

£100 million of the total will go straight to Development Bank of Wales and be made available to businesses experiencing cash flow problems through low-interest loans of between £5,000 and £250,000.

The remaining £400 million will be used for £10,000 grants for micro-businesses with less than 10 employees, grants of up to £100,000 for businesses with 10-249 employees, and support for larger businesses - although details of that support are yet to be outlined.

The fund will be available to businesses that have either been forced to close as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak or need extra cash to adapt their operations to allow home working.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "The pace at which the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our economy is extraordinary. Now, more than ever, government needs to do all it can to support the economy and business.

"The recent announcements by the UK Government provided some much-needed protection for many workers and their families in Wales. Only the UK Government has the macro-economic and fiscal levers to minimise the enormous damage this economic shut-down will do to the UK economy."

Mr Drakeford added: "But even with these interventions, there are elements of the economy, businesses and charities in Wales facing insolvency because fixed and operating costs – rent, residual salary costs, leasing charges for vital equipment and maintaining operations – cannot be met during this crisis.

"We made a commitment as a Welsh Government to fill the gaps and support the economy and businesses through this incredibly difficult time.

"This package of support provides further assurance to firms, charities and social enterprises that we will do."

The new fund builds on the £1.4 billion business support package announced by Welsh Government on 18 March, which provides a year-long rate relief holiday for all but the largest premises in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and grant-support for more than 70,000 small businesses.