Welsh Liberal Democrats have today called for an upfront premium grant to small and micro-businesses in Wales, as well as to freelancers, to help them through the next few months in light of the latest lockdown measures.
Small and family-owned businesses are set to suffer significantly with the double whammy of Brexit and the new Covid lockdown, with experts are predicting closures could extend into the spring.
Many small and micro-businesses in Wales are either ineligible for Welsh Government support or are receiving so little it prevents them from becoming financially stable in these uncertain times.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
“Each successive lockdown hits business harder, with few having recovered their resilience from the last lockdown. The effect is cumulative - recovery from each closure takes longer. Much of the support business receives has so far been in the form of loans, which will need to be repaid eventually.
"There is a big issue of long-term resilience for firms, many of which are generations old, as well as getting businesses through the immediate crisis. This is a huge threat to our local high streets. Welsh Liberal Democrats want to see thriving towns and villages; but there is a real danger that many communities across Wales will be hollowed out, as local shops, cafes and pubs have to close.
“Most of the support from the Welsh Government so far has been targeted at businesses with medium to high levels of staff and many small and micro-businesses are struggling. Many of whom aren’t getting the support they need as they pay small or no business rates or operate from home/small and mobile premises.
“Small businesses, micro-businesses and family-owned businesses are the lifeblood of Welsh communities and the Welsh economy. They employ people, ensure our vulnerable are looked after and are the beating hearts of our Welsh communities.
“The lockdown decisions are needed to save lives, but the Welsh Government needs to urgently put measures in place to save our communities. We want a premium payment upfront, in addition to the support already announced, for small and family-owned businesses.”