WALES' economy minister called on the UK Government to fight for Welsh families and businesses.

In Tuesday's briefing to update Wales on the impact of the coronavious pandemic, Vaughan Gething said UK Government policy is leaving Wales with “less say over less money”.

“We continue to face many economic challenges, particularly in light of the impact of leaving the European Union and the absence of a UK Government plan for replacing EU funding and reducing inequalities across the UK,” he said.

“The people of Wales have not provided a mandate for the UK Government to hijack money and decisions out of Wales.

“Funding certainty and autonomy will allow us to support the reconstruction of our Welsh economy, tailored to Wales’ needs. Following several years of engagement, we have published our plans with partners on how we can make that work.

“The approach the UK Government is taking is a direct threat to this work. It currently leaves Wales with less say over less money.”

He continued: "Families across Wales need help and support now. The UK Treasury must step up.

"Failure to step up is a recipe for levelling down.

"Where the UK Government has failed, the Welsh government will use the resources we do have to help.

"We are doing all that we can, we could do so much more if the UK government was also fighting for families."

He started the briefing by saying that businesses in Wales impacted by the rapid spread of the Omicron virus can now apply for emergency financial support from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF).

He had previously said £120 million 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.

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

The application window will be open for two weeks, with payments starting to reach businesses within days.

Mr Gething, said: “This Welsh Government has pulled every lever possible to support businesses across Wales since the pandemic hit, and we continue to act to ensure needs are met.

“Following positive engagement with businesses, trades unions and other partners, we recently changed the eligibility criteria for the ERF support. The ERF grant is a Wales-only top up payment that currently supports eligible businesses who have seen a 60% drop in their income between December and February compared with the same period two years ago. The new criteria means that businesses in these sectors who have seen a 50% reduction in their turnover will now also be able to access the ERF.

“This means more businesses will receive more support from the Welsh Government.”

Non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses in Wales can also receive support from the Non Domestic Rates (NDR) linked grant which is being 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 are also administrating a discretionary fund for sole traders, freelancers and taxi drivers and businesses that employ people but do not pay business rates. Last week this was doubled to £1,000.

The Welsh Government has provided in excess of £2.5bn funding to Welsh businesses since the start of the pandemic. Focused particularly on backing small businesses and Welsh communities, it’s targeted approach has helped protect in excess of 160,000 Welsh jobs which might otherwise have been lost.

For more information visit