ECONOMY: HYSLOP SAYS SHE’S BACKING BUSINESS

Covid-related grants for local businesses

Vale of Leven where businesses are struggling to cope with the downturn in trade. Picture by Craig Jump of Turkey Red Media, Strathleven House, Dumbarton.

By Democrat reporter

Details of grants available to businesses in West Dunbartonshire and the Helensburgh as part of Scotland’s refreshed strategic approach to suppressing coronavirus (COVID-19) have been published.

From 2 November, firms that are required by law to close will be eligible for grants every four weeks for as long as the restrictions last. Based on rateable values, awards will be for either £2,000 or £3,000.

Businesses which can remain open, but are directly constrained by the measures, will be eligible for grants worth £1,400 or £2,100, again based on rateable value.

This support is in addition to the UK Government’s revised furlough scheme launching on 1 November.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop, pictured left,  said:  “These are uncertain times for business and many will be concerned that the action necessary to protect public health will have a severe effect on their bottom line.

“We are determined to support businesses during this period and we will continue to listen to and engage with business leaders about the draft framework published today.

“We will make financial support available as levels are reviewed across the country and restrictions applied locally.  We will continue to work with local authorities to ensure grants are made available quickly and efficiently.

“The support that we are providing is the maximum we can afford under our current powers and the resources available. We have matched the level of support available in England for larger businesses and our grants are more generous to smaller businesses.

“The Chancellor has written a blank cheque for business support grants in England and he must urgently commit to providing Scotland with the funding needed to help our businesses weather this pandemic.”

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that the Scottish Government must ensure that adequate support is available for the hospitality businesses who have been affected by the extension to the current restrictions.

FM Nicola Sturgeon announced that the restrictions – which were previously due to expire on Monday – will now continue until 2 November. This sees thousands of hospitality businesses across the Central Belt forced to remain closed until then, with the exception of cafes.

Jackie Baillie MSP said:  “Business owners and workers in the hospitality industry accepted these extreme restrictions expecting that they would only last two weeks. This further extension will have come as a real blow for thousands of people in this industry and I fear that many businesses will not survive as a result.

“Local restaurants, pubs and cafes went to exceptional lengths – and spent a lot of money – to ensure that all safety measures were met and that customers are safe on their premises.

“If Nicola Sturgeon thinks it is not safe for these businesses to open then she must ensure that long term financial support is in place so that businesses are not forced to close their doors for good and make staff redundant.”

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