Last week, Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, was pleased to announce in her role as Minister for Finance that the Welsh Government is providing a £1.4 billion package of support for businesses in Wales.
Those grants will start landing in business’ bank accounts from Thursday of this week.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “This is a challenging time for businesses in Wales, and time is of the essence for many of them.
“I am pleased that we have been able to work closely with local authorities in Wales to ensure that the grants get out to businesses so quickly.”
All retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
This will mean around 8,500 shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, and guest accommodation will receive funding.
A £10,000 grant will be available to a further 63,500 businesses in Wales, which are eligible for small business rates relief and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
The business grants will be distributed by local authorities on behalf of Welsh Government.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed moves by the Welsh Government to offer free bus travel for NHS staff.
Bus companies are struggling with the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak, and this move forms part of a hardship fund which will help support bus companies through a difficult period. Free travel for NHS staff is already available on Transport for Wales trains.
Rebecca Evans AM said: ”Demand for public transport has fallen significantly as people are following the new rules to stay at home to save lives and protect our NHS. This means that the bus industry is really struggling.
“This new package of support for the bus industry will give the industry the funding it needs to continue to deliver services, and pay staff and sub-contractors. It will be conditional on continuing to provide a timetabled service, and provide all NHS staff with free travel.”
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed the coronavirus information hub for families and children established by the Children's Commissioner for Wales.
Mrs Evans said: "The coronavirus outbreak is really worrying for adults, and it can be frightening for children. There is so much misinformation out there, which is why a clear and child-friendly source of information and advice is so important.”
The Children’s Commissioner’s coronavirus hub can be at:
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has expressed her thanks to the former health and social care professionals who are returning to work to help in the effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The emergency recruitment drive is also seeing final-year students being offered work in the NHS to boost the workforce over the coming months.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “This is all part of the extensive plans to prepare the NHS and social care sector to provide care for the number of people who are likely to need it as a result of the coronavirus.
“These are extraordinary times, and I am grateful to everyone who is returning to work, or stepping up to work for the first time in the Welsh NHS to care for patients. Your knowledge and professionalism will be crucial in the period ahead of us, and I am full of thanks and admiration.”
Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed the ramping up of testing capacity for Covid-19 by Public Health Wales.
There are currently more than 800 tests per day in Wales, but from 1st April there will be capacity for 6,000 per day, and by 7th April there will be capacity for 8,000 per day.
Alongside Covid-19 patients, self-isolating frontline health care workers will be prioritised for testing in order to provide a basis for an early return to work.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I welcome the prioritisation of testing for of health care workers who are in roles on the frontline looking after patients with Coronavirus. Our health care staff do absolutely amazing work. Testing those workers in self-isolation will mean that those with a negative test result can return to the frontline sooner.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed the decision by Wales’ Housing Minister Julie James to introduce a temporary three month interest repayment holiday for ‘interest-bearing’ Help to Buy Wales customers who may face financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “The announcement means that customers who might be affected by Coronavirus and who subsequently suffer a drop in income will not need to pay their Help to Buy Wales loan interest repayment for a three month period. Several hundred people could be helped by this welcome move.”
Police have issued a series of tips and advice for people to bear in mind during the coronavirus outbreak – and to community groups who are offering their support to others.
In South Wales and across the country, there have been numerous examples of communities coming together and helping each other, particularly the most vulnerable.
But with reports from elsewhere in the UK of fraudsters and scammers trying to use the outbreak to take advantage of others, South Wales Police is raising awareness of advice which may help prevent people in our communities from falling victim.
Chief Superintendent Stuart Parfitt, Head of Operational Support Services, said: “It is fantastic to see so many examples of a generous community spirit, and we want to encourage that to continue, while everyone abides by the latest public health guidance.
“However, we also want to pass on some advice to help keep everyone – and particularly the vulnerable – safe from the tiny minority who may try to take advantage of others’ situations during this outbreak by claiming to be offering support, while in fact acting with an ulterior motive.”
To speak to the police, call 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed the BBC's announcement that it is to delay TV licence fee changes for the over-75s until August in light of the coronavirus situation.
Rebecca Evans AM has previously raised her concerns about the scrapping of free TV licences for up to 3.7 million older people.
Rebecca Evans AM said: "These are deeply unsettling and uncertain times, and the television can be a source of company, comfort and information for many people.
“Delaying the scrapping of the free TV licence for older people until August is a welcome first move, but I would like the UK Government to go further and scrap the plan to charge the over-75s for their TV licence for good.”
The Welsh Government is taking immediate action to allow delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers to be extended to ensure the food industry is able to respond to increased consumer demand during the Coronavirus outbreak, Local Government Minister Julie James has announced today.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM said: “I welcome these pragmatic measures to relax planning conditions restricting night-time and early morning deliveries, allowing retailers to accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary.
“These are exceptionally challenging times and it is vital that deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible, minimising disruption to the supply chains on which communities depend.”
Assembly Member for Gower, Rebecca Evans AM, is backing a commitment by the Welsh Labour Government to improve welfare standards for dogs at breeding premises in Wales.
Welsh Labour’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has said she will act immediately to strengthen how the law is applied across Wales, re-confirming the Welsh Government will take forward Lucy’s Law and ban third party puppy and kitten sales.
This follows a review of the existing dog breeding regulations by the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, which called for greater consistency in the inspection and enforcement of breeding regulations, a review of the licensing process, and the need for better welfare standards for all breeding dogs.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Constituents regularly raise concern with me regarding the welfare standards for dogs, and I welcome the commitment made by the Welsh Labour Government to take further steps in this area. The combination of new regulations on pet sales and dedicated funding for enforcement and delivery of the breeding regulations will result in lasting improvements to the welfare standards of puppies bred in Wales.”