WQ82151 (e) Tabled on 22/02/2021

Further to WQ81994, will the Minister outline the top five reasons behind the rejection of 501 applications to the Cultural Recovery Fund?

Answered by Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales | Answered on 04/03/2021

Phases 1 and 2 of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) provided emergency funding to support firms of all sizes, including social enterprises, providing they met the eligibility criteria.   Phase 3 of the ERF was different in design and aimed to help businesses deal with the economic challenges of Covid-19 and the UK’s impending exit from the EU. The enhanced ERF 3 provided business development grants to help businesses develop in the longer term and was intended to support businesses in Wales with development projects to assist with recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and future sustainability. Projects that improved the business operation from current circumstances were supported. In addition, the projects had to address one or more of the calls to action in the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan.

The Business Development Grant was a discretionary fund with significant levels of public grant ranging from £10k to £200k. In line with the guidelines, applications that did not meet the criteria and incomplete applications that did not have three month’s bank statements, adequate quotes and proof of funding, were ineligible. To ensure fairness to all, applications that did not follow the issued guidance were rejected.

On the matter of the Cultural Recovery Fund, the top five reasons behind the rejections were: the eligibility threshold has not been met; the application was generally not eligible; a duplicate application had been received; verification was required for the Companies House number; and that the organisation was due to receive or was already receiving other Covid-19 financial support.