£1 billion business support fund opens
The Scottish Government has launched a £1 billion business support fund meaning businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The one-off grants are designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery, and more than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland will be able to benefit.
The grant support is additional to separate tax relief measures and is part of a package of measures worth £2.2 billion.
Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.
Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:
• a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses
• a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999
The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Kate Forbes, cabinet secretary for finance, said: “While our primary concern is for people’s health, it is clear that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak will have severe economic consequences, and we are treating it as an economic emergency. We are determined to help keep companies in business and support them and their staff during this difficult time.
“Local authorities are the most efficient way to deliver this and we have worked closely with them to deliver these measures – and eligible businesses can apply now.
“Local authorities will aim to make payments within 10 working days, and I’d like to thank them for their help in ensuring this support is delivered as quickly as possible.
“The COVID-19 situation, however, is both severe and fast-moving and requires a coordinated UK response: I will continue to work closely with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations.”
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland has urged the Scottish Government and councils to work together to make the application process as easy and user-friendly as possible.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “This £1 billion package could make the difference for many thousands of Scottish businesses during this difficult period. We would urge business owners to read the available detail carefully, and then make contact with their council.
“While Scotland’s small business community is grateful for this support, it is important that good businesses aren’t denied this help because of administrative difficulties. We would ask local and national decision-makers to do what they can to ensure these cash grants and tax breaks benefit as many firms as possible. Resource to make this happen need to be found.”
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