Finance Minister Rebecca Evans has announced an extra £10 million in Welsh Government funding. This extra money is to protect workers at risk of falling through a gap in UK government wage support schemes.
The Minister has backed these calls with an extra £10 million package to help protect workers not eligible for the UK Government’s job retention scheme. It will also provide wider support for those in need of urgent financial help.
The Welsh Government has pressed the UK Chancellor to guarantee wage support for workers affected by business closure. These businesses risk falling through between the Job Retention Scheme and the new Job Support Scheme. Our government has put forward a number of suggestions it can help, but so far without receiving a positive response.
With the all-Wales firebreak, the Welsh Government is now stepping in to add £5 million to the £20 million discretionary fund. This fund helps local authorities to allow businesses to retain workers at risk of falling through the gaps in support. This fund is on top of the £300 million package of grants announced last week.
The Discretionary Assistance Fund
In addition, the government will provide an extra £5 million to the Discretionary Assistance Fund. This fund gives grants to people in need of urgent help during the crisis. These people include those waiting for benefit payments and those in employment who are facing hardship.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
Only the UK Government can alter these wage support schemes, but they have refused to make changes which would have protected workers at risk of falling through the gaps. While UK Ministers fail to act, I am today adding a further £5 million to our discretionary businesses support grants and call on employers to use this funding to retain workers not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme between 23rd and 31st October.
The Wales-only Economic Resilience Fund has already helped to secure over 100,000 jobs during this crisis by providing businesses with the most generous support package anywhere in the UK.
The Minister added:
We cannot protect every job and every business hit by this global pandemic, but we are taking every action we can to support people in need of urgent financial help. This is why a further £5 million will be dedicated to support our Discretionary Assistance fund.
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