Welsh Covid-19 Financial Support ‘Protected Employment and Recovery’

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Welsh Government Covid-19 support schemes protected employment and recipients have shown a sustained recovery, a new report says.

The final report on financial support during the pandemic by Economic Intelligence Wales shows nearly all the businesses surveyed who received financial support are still trading today.

Jointly commissioned by Economic Intelligence Wales, the Development Bank of Wales and the Welsh Government, the report by Cardiff Business School is the fourth in a series which looks at the effectiveness of Welsh Government interventions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The schemes included the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF), the Covid Wales Business Loan Scheme (CWBLS) and Start-Up Grants (SUGS).

It follows analysis from three earlier reports covering the support schemes, comparing more recent survey results to those included in earlier reports.

Some of the key highlights identified in the report include:

  • 94% of businesses who had received initial support are still trading – a slightly higher rate than across Welsh businesses more generally;
  • Nearly half (46%) of businesses in receipt of ERF Phases 3-7 developed new products or services in response to the pandemic;
  • 22% had seen employee numbers grow since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020;
  • 20% had increased their turnover by up to 20%;
  • 86% agreed that support received was as important as the UK Government’s furlough schemes in safeguarding employment.

The report says that Welsh-led assistance complemented UK Government schemes, providing varied support in conjunction with other funding sources.

It suggests that Welsh Government support during the pandemic had a measurable impact by safeguarding and supporting employment in some of Wales’ worst affected industries and regions. There was also evidence of a sustained recovery among the beneficiaries, with negative pandemic impacts not being experienced to the same severity as those in the wider economy.

Professor Max Munday of Cardiff Business School, one of the authors of the report, said:

“The findings from the analysis were very encouraging in terms of the role of Welsh Government and Development Bank support through the whole period of Covid-19. Particularly encouraging were the significant numbers of firms who had used support to innovate their business processes to deal with the challenges of Covid.”

Jeremy Miles, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Energy and Welsh Language, said:

“It is a source of great pride to see that our Economic Resilience Fund has helped protect jobs and support the business community through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

“It’s particularly pleasing to note that this support has made positive contributions in some of the areas and industries most at risk from the long-term effects of Covid, enabling businesses to grow and placing them on firmer ground to continue to thrive.”

Giles Thorley, Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales, said:

“This detailed assessment of the support provided by Welsh Government during the Covid-19 pandemic plays a hugely important role in allowing us to understand what worked, and to inform the design and implementation of any similar interventions in future.

“Although it was an incredibly challenging time, we at the Development Bank of Wales are proud of the role we played in getting vital support to businesses when they needed it via CWBLS and will continue to work alongside all partners to support businesses in Wales.”

The full report is available here Covid-19 Welsh Government financial interventions – Dev Bank (developmentbank.wales)

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