Latest updates for Wales

Roadmaps have been published in the past fortnight for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but Wales is as yet set to announce a route out of lockdown restrictions.

Level 4 restrictions are currently in place across the country until at least 12th March, meaning people must stay at home except for very limited purposes and are prohibited from meeting others from outside their household.

Key dates for Wales:

12th March

Next review of “stay at home” restrictions will take place. If coronavirus cases continue to fall then there may be a possibility of changes to restrictions.

15th March
Possible reopening date for non-essential shops, including salons and hairdressers. Primary schools will reopen to remaining pupils.
Secondary school pupils in exam years 11 and 13, and some pupils in years 10 and 12 who are due to sit exams, may also be allowed to return from this date.

Easter (4th April)

Target date for reopening of tourism businesses. Possible easing of restrictions if cases have fallen once again.

12th April
It is hoped that secondary school pupils will start returning to school from 12th April.

In light of these dates, First Minister Mark Drakeford said this week that there lies potential to reopen the “economy in Wales earlier than in other parts of the UK” as cases continue to fall.

He said that coronavirus rates in Wales are “significantly lower than in England” and that Wales may be able to “restore some economic activity earlier than the prime minister’s roadmap currently suggests”.

“I wouldn’t want to deny businesses in Wales the chance to get back trading because we were waiting for somebody else to be in the position we had already arrived at.”

Key Points from The Budget for Welsh businesses:

  • An extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to September 2021 across the UK.
  • An extension of the UK-wide Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now able to claim for the first time.
  • A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme to make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million, to help businesses of all sizes through the next stage of recovery.
  • Extension to the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions across the UK until the end of September, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022.
  • Business Rates Holiday for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in Wales will be extended for a further 12 months.

The latest round of Economic Resilience Funding (ERF) has also been announced for sector specific businesses affected by ongoing coronavirus restrictions in Wales. 

ERF is targeted at small, medium and large businesses in the hospitality, leisure, tourism sectors and related supply chain businesses.

The ERF Sector Specific Grant application phase 2 window opens Tuesday 9th March 2021 until 8pm on Friday 12th March 2021.  For further information, and to access the eligibility checker, please visit the Business Wales website.

For more information on The Budget, click here. To read the Welsh Government’s response to the UK Budget, click here.

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