Action to ensure businesses across Scotland impacted by level 4 restrictions get additional and faster access to financial support have been announced by the Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.
This is in addition to the £570 million package of support, including the Strategic Framework Business Fund which has been open since November. Businesses that are required to close or modify their operations by law can apply for a Temporary Closure Grant or a Business Restrictions Grant through their local authority website. Grants of up to £3,000 are available for every four weeks of restrictions, payable in arrears while restrictions last.
An additional £41 million will top up support for non-essential retail and gyms, which are required to close in level 4. This is in addition to top up grants for hospitality that were announced earlier this month. Non-essential retail and gyms will be given up to an additional £3,000 and can claim this funding through their local authority website if they have not already submitted an application.
The cap on the maximum support available through the Strategic Framework Business Fund will also be lifted from 1 January for businesses that operate from multiple premises.
To accelerate the distribution of financial support, a further £7 million will help all local authorities recruit additional staff or backfill positions to meet increased demand for coronavirus (COVID-19) grants and speed up the payment process.
Ms Forbes said:
“With mainland Scotland now entering level 4, the Strategic Framework Business Fund is already open to businesses required to close or modify their operations by law. In recognition of the substantial increase in the number of businesses eligible for support, I have provided additional financial resources of £7 million to local authorities to upscale operations and streamline grants. Work is already underway to ensure businesses get support as quickly as possible.
“I recently announced a top up grant to hospitality businesses, and today I can confirm that a further top up grant will be provided to non-essential retail businesses and gyms.
“Since March the Scottish Government has allocated more than £2.3 billion to business support and more than £1.2 billion to economic recovery.
“On top of the additional £570 million package of support announced at the start of this month, these changes will manage that increased demand, accelerating the grant application process and in turn getting these essential payments to businesses as quickly as possible.
“We welcome the news of further consequentials and will set out shortly how these will be utilised to meet the needs of business. It is likely that a significant amount will be used to meet the substantial increase in businesses applying to the Strategic Framework Business Fund at Level 4.”