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Thursday, November 26, 2020

SM calls for support for "desperate" B&Bs

North Wales MS Mark Isherwood has again called on the Finance Minister Rebecca Evans to provide an urgent statement detailing how she’s going to support "desperate" small B&B businesses, or explain why she’s “abandoned this key sector and its support for our local economies.”

Throughout the pandemic Mr Isherwood says he has made repeated calls for support for these businesses, yet they continue to miss out on funding sources.

Yesterday he again challenged the Minister over the lack of support.

Calling for an urgent statement on the matter during yesterday’s Business Statement in the Welsh Parliament, he said: “When I asked you for a statement on this six weeks ago, I said the Welsh Government again excluded them from financial support to help them survive the pandemic, this time barred from a third round of the economic resilience fund. 

"They were also deemed ineligible in previous rounds and have been denied small business grants, unlike their counterparts in England and Scotland.

"In reply, you said they should speak to Business Wales advisers to explore whether they can point them in the direction of other forms of support. Having tried this, they told me that only loans were available, and these would push them into unmanageable debt.

“They've since told me that they are also ineligible for your lockdown discretionary grant and ask if the Welsh Government were going to help them before we go into this winter, stating, 'Our sector cannot possibly survive without additional help'. 

They therefore need a statement from you, detailing the support you will now give them, or explaining why on earth you've abandoned this key sector and its support for our local economies.”

The Minister told Mr Isherwood to send her details of the reasons why the B&B owners he referred to were not eligible for the discretionary fund

She added: “We are looking to explore what we can learn from this current ERF phase 3 in terms of our package of support as we move forward for business. So, I'd be keen to understand why they were unable to access funding through the discretionary fund, which is deliberately very wide and broad in order to meet the needs of those businesses that have not yet been able to access support.”

Mr Isherwood added: “I will now go back to the desperate B&B businesses who have been in touch to inform them of the Minister’s latest response and ask for their feedback once more, before writing to the Minister.”  

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