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Business

Eligibility checker for £120m Omicron business support package goes live

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ELIGIBLE businesses can apply for grants of between £2,500k – £25,000, with grants dependent on their size and number of employees.

Businesses in Wales impacted by the rapid spread of the Omicron virus can now find out how much they can expect to receive in emergency financial support from the Welsh Government.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething previously said £120m would be available for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism business and their supply chains affected by the move to alert level 2 announced by the First Minister on Wednesday 22 December.

The support package includes funding from the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF), with an eligibility checker for this fund now live on the Business Wales website.

This will help businesses, including charities and social enterprises, to gauge how much they can expect to receive from the ERF.

The application window for the ERF will open in week commencing 17 January 2022, with payments starting to reach businesses within days. The application window will be open for two weeks.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “We recognise that businesses are facing another hugely uncertain time due to the Omicron variant of Coronavirus. The eligibility checker which goes live today will help them forward plan during this challenging period.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve provided over £2.6bn of support to businesses throughout Wales to help them manage their way through difficult circumstances. This latest £120 million package of support will further assist impacted businesses and we will get financial support to them as quickly as possible.”

Non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses in Wales will also receive support from the Non Domestic Rates (NDR) linked grant which will be administered by Local Authorities. Businesses will be entitled to a payment of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000 depending on their rateable value.

Local Authorities will also be administrating a discretionary fund for sole traders, freelancers and taxi drivers and businesses that employee people but do not pay business rates.

The registration process for the NDR linked grants and application process for the discretionary fund will open week commencing the 10 January 2022.

The ERF eligibility checker can be found at: https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/businesssupport

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Business

St Clears’ McDonald’s opening delayed for a week

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McDonald's sign

THE OPENING of the new 100-seater McDonald’s in St Clears has been delayed by a week. 

The restaurant, which will be built along the main approach road to Pembrokeshire, aimed to open its doors on Wednesday, January 19. 

However, the company has confirmed that the opening has been postponed until Wednesday, January 26. 

The new McDonald’s will join Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock McDonald’s as the only members of the company located west of Carmarthen. 

It hoped to provide over 80 full and part time jobs due to being open around the clock. They hosted a recruitment day in December 2021. 

The original applications had previously stated that the McDonald’s would be open 24 hours a day. A premises licence application is currently being made to the County Council for the “provision of late-night refreshments” which, if accepted, would allow the restaurant to be open 24 hours a day.

It will open on the opposite side of the road to Travelodge and Starbucks, which replaced the Little Chef restaurant in 2017.

The restaurant was initially going to include a separate building which would have accommodated a Costa Coffee. However, it will now host a Greggs. 

Alongside this, planning permission has been granted separately for a petrol station with six electric charging points.

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Business

Applications for latest Covid-19 business support funding opens

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APPLICATIONS for the latest round of Welsh Government Covid-19 business support funding is now open.

The money is part of a £120m package of support for nightclubs, events, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses and their supply chains, impacted by the move to Alert Level 2.

The Non Domestic Rates (NDR) linked grant is now open.

See https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support/non-domestic-rate-linked-business-grant

To receive the grant, eligible businesses must complete a registration form and the closing date is 5pm on the 14 February 2022.

An eligibility checker for businesses is available at:

https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/businesssupport?_ga=2.234856926.1944247233.1641292011-360841121.1641292011

The above link also features further information and a series of FAQs about the latest round of support.

Welsh Government has decided that in relation to self-catering accommodation, such properties will not be eligible for the grant unless one of the following criteria are met:

  • the self-catering property can accommodate for 30 people or more or
  • the self-catering accommodation is classed as an outdoor education centre.

A discretionary fund to support sole traders, freelancers and businesses who don’t pay rates, with funding of £500 – £2000, is due to go live on the Council’s business support pages next week.

For more information on business support, see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

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Business

‘Rotten month’ for drivers as retailers refused to pass on petrol price savings

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DECEMBER 2021 was a “rotten” month for drivers as they were taken advantage of by petrol retailers the RAC has claimed.

The RAC told The Herald that despite wholesale prices meriting big cuts at the pumps the average price of petrol in the UK fell by just 2p a litre in December meaning drivers paid £156m more than they should have.

Unleaded dropped from 147.47p a litre to 145.48p when drivers should really have seen prices nearer to 135p “had retailers played fair instead of taking far bigger margins than normal.” The RAC said.

Diesel dropped by just under 2p a litre from 150.80p to 148.92p when drivers should have been paying around 142p. The motoring organisation has claimed.

“Instead of their long-term margin of 6p a litre, retailers took an average of 16p a litre on petrol and 12.5p on diesel in December making forecourt prices far more expensive than they would have been, had retailers not changed their fuel pricing strategy.” The RAC said.

The price of a litre of unleaded on the wholesale market, including delivery, averaged 106p across the month.

“Had a 6p margin been taken drivers would have seen an average petrol pump price of around 135p after applying VAT at 20%.”

“The average wholesale cost of delivered diesel was 112p a litre which, with the usual 6p retailer margin, would have given a pump price of around 142p.”

“This means it has cost petrol car drivers £6 more to fill up a typical 55-litre family car than it should have (£80 v £74) and for diesel nearly £4 more with a tank costing £82 at the end of the month instead of £78.” The motoring organisation said.

The RAC estimates retailers’ refusal to reflect lower wholesale prices at the pumps cost petrol car drivers a huge £156m in December, or the equivalent of £5m a day.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “December was a rotten month for drivers as they were taken advantage of by retailers who rewrote their pump price strategy, costing motorists millions of pounds as a result.”

“Their resistance to cutting prices and to only pass on a fraction of the savings they were making from lower wholesale costs is nothing short of scandalous.”

“The 10p extra retailers have added to their long-term margin of 6p a litre has led to petrol car drivers paying £5m more a day than they previously would have.”

“In the past when wholesale prices have dropped retailers have always done the right thing –eventually – and reduced their pump prices.”

“This time they’ve stood strong, taking advantage of all the media talk about ‘higher energy prices’ and banked on the oil price rising again and catching up with their artificially inflated prices, which it has now done.”

“The trouble is every extra penny they take as margin leads to drivers paying even more as VAT gets added on top at the end of the forecourt transaction.”

“This means the Treasury’s coffers have been substantially boosted on the back of the retailers’ action. We urge ministers to push retailers into doing the right thing for consumers.”

An analysis of RAC Fuel Watch data reveals Asda had the cheapest petrol at the end of the year with a litre costing an average of 141.81p at their stores, with Sainsbury’s not far behind at 142.57p.

Asda also sold the lowest priced diesel at 144.9p a litre ahead of Tesco on 145.8p. The average price of motorway unleaded at the close of December was 160.55p while diesel was higher still at 163.43p.

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