A £500 MILLION fund has been made available to provide extra support to the Welsh economy, businesses and charities experiencing a sharp drop in trading as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press conference this afternoon first minister Mark Drakeford launched the Economic Resilience Fund as part of £1.1 billion of additional funding made available by the Welsh Government to help combat coronavirus.

The new £500 million fund will support firms of all sizes, with a focus on those which have not already benefited from the coronavirus grants already announced by the Welsh Government.

It will also support businesses forced to temporarily close or which need cash-flow support to adapt to a remote way of working.

The £500 million fund is made up of two main elements.

The first is a £100 million fund from the Development Bank of Wales for companies experiencing cash flow problems as a result of the pandemic, providing loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 at favourable interest rates.

Businesses will also be able to benefit from a £400 million emergency pot.

This will provide grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses employing up to nine people. This includes sole traders employing staff and qualifying businesses will be able to apply by mid-April.

For small and medium-sized businesses with between 10 and 249 employees, grants of up to £100,000 will be available to apply for from next week.

The £400 million pot will also be open to larger Welsh companies which are of critical social or economic importance to Wales.

This element will be open to qualifying businesses within the next two weeks.

Mr 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.

“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 just that – help them deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.”

Ken Skates, Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “This £500 million package will provide further vital assistance to thousands of firms and third sector organisations, which normally rely on trading income.

“We have been very clear, we are here to support the economy and the business community. We stand with every business and worker. Together we will get through this exceptionally challenging period.”