Scotland opens £1 billion Business Support Fund
Scottish businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 are expected to benefit.
The grant support is additional to separate tax relief measures and is part of a package of measures worth £2.2 billion, the government said.
“We are determined to help keep companies in business and support them and their staff during this difficult time," said Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes.
The two types of grant now available to ratepayers are:
• 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, the government underlined, explaining that 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.
“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," said Ms Forbes, adding that payments will be made within 10 working days.
Applauding the Scottish government's move, Andrew McRae, Federation of Small Businesses' 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.”
Mr McRae added that 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.”
Last week, the Welsh government delivered a £1.4 billion business support package
Commenting on the Welsh government's announcement at the time, Ben Francis, FSB Wales policy chair, said: “Businesses in Wales will wake up feeling that Welsh Government has made steps to provide them with a safety net today.
“It is our expectation that the relief and grants will be made available very quickly. It is vital that Welsh Government remember that businesses are facing incredibly difficult decisions now, and government support needs to match that pace,” Mr Francis said.