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MSP to meet Scottish finance secretary to demand support for businesses excluded from government support

By Scott Maclennan

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Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has secured a meeting with the finance secretary Kate Forbes in a last ditch bid to get help for businesses that have fallen through the cracks of government support.

The highly complex range of funding has left a number of enterprises without UK or Scottish government help. Even Audit Scotland, which is charged with keeping tabs on public spending, say that more than 170 Covid-related spending announcements in Scotland alone have made it hard to keep traffic of pandemic spending.

Mrs Grant will meet her fellow Highland MSP before parliament rises to see if anything can be done for those who have not received any public funding despite the financial impact of the Covid restrictions.

“I met with business owners and Highland Council officials and we discussed how the strict eligibility criteria that is attached to many of the Scottish Government’s funding pots is hampering them getting much needed support,”Mrs Grant said.

“When I met with representatives of Highland Council they acknowledged that were was a particular problem with marine businesses accessing funding.

“Since then however, I have been advised by the Scottish Government that the council’s discretionary funding is being quadrupled from £30 million to £120 million.

“I hope this means that the cap of £2000 will be lifted from their discretionary funding in order to provide these businesses that have not yet received any funding with the money they need to pull through this.

“A year since first lockdown, some of these businesses have not received any public funding to help them through the crisis and they are fearful that their businesses will fold if they cannot access funding in the immediate future.

“It is desperately unfair that these businesses have received no support and are perilously close to folding through absolutely no fault of their own.”

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