THE Scottish Government has revealed details of a further £220 million of grants being made available for businesses, including the recently self-employed, to help alleviate the impact of Covid-19.
New measures include £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.
A further £100 million fund is being made available to protect self-employed people and ‘viable’ micro and SME businesses in distress due to the pandemic.
This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other government schemes.
Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.
Scotland’s finance secretary Kate Forbes said, “The Scottish Government’s primary concern remains protecting people’s health, but it is still the case that the coronavirus outbreak is having severe economic consequences for businesses around the country. We are doing everything we can to support business at this difficult time and we continue to listen to and engage with the sector.
“Our support for business now exceeds the £2.2 billion passed on from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes. Around 100,000 businesses in total are already eligible for our small business grants and from today we will be extending that scheme in response to feedback from businesses on the frontline of this economic crisis.
“The creation of a £100 million fund is to help those micro and SME businesses who face immediate cash flow challenges, are ineligible for other schemes and are the productive base for supporting employment in the future. It will also support those newly self-employed people who are also ineligible for UK schemes and will be a vital lifeline for many businesses and individuals across Scotland.
“With UK Government support not being available until June, we are going further to secure the future economic viability of Scottish firms and applications will be open by the end of the month. While many businesses are in difficulty, some are doing better than others or can pull through from their own resources.
“Just as we ask the public only to buy what they need in the supermarkets, we are asking businesses who do not need this vital help to refrain from claiming additional support unless absolutely necessary so we can direct as much help as possible to those who need it most.”