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Financial support extended to Scotland's hospitality, retail and leisure businesses hit by coronavirus pandemic


By Val Sweeney

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Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level four restrictions will be paid.

It follows an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

In addition to the grants businesses receive through the strategic business framework fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of:

£25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the four-weekly £3000.

£6000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the four-weekly £2000.

£9000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the four-weekly £3000.

£6000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the four-weekly £2000.

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the four-weekly payment from the strategic framework business fund will get an automatic top-up.

For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the strategic framework business fund due to go to businesses on January 25.

Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.

Ms Forbes said: "Since the start of the pandemic Scottish Government support for business and the economy has reached almost £3 billion - more than a third of our total coronavirus funding, demonstrating our commitment to provide as much help as we possibly can to our businesses.

"As promised, this additional support for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses will be available this month, in some cases doubling or tripling the amount of support we are providing.

"Applications are open now and payment will be made this month.

"Crucially, this essential funding will also help to close the gaps in UK wide support for these impacted sectors and our one-off support for larger hospitality premises of £25,000 is considerably more generous than the £9000 grant on offer in England.

"I’d encourage all eligible businesses to apply through their local authority if they have not done so already. Of course we are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, welcomed the announcement.

"Shops and high streets across Scotland have been left reeling by coronavirus," he said.

"These enhanced cash grants for retail business are a financial lifeline which will help non-essential stores through the current phase of being unable to open and trade.

"There isn’t a taxpayer-funded support scheme which can replace the potential losses of store closures so it is very encouraging that the finance secretary has listened and responded positively."

Related story: New lockdown will be painful warns Highland business leader



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