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Highland councillors urge businesses required to close during latest coronavirus lockdown to apply for new support grants

By Ian Duncan

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Highland Council headquarters.
Highland Council headquarters.

Highland businesses are being urged to apply for new grants which will be available this month.

So far, Highland Council has paid out more than £740,000 of Business Restriction Grants to 461 businesses hit by the pandemic.

Firms which were required to close due to the tighter restrictions which were imposed on Boxing Day will be able to apply for further Scottish Government grants early in the new year.

Councillor Trish Robertson, chairwoman of the local authority’s economy and infrastructure committee, said: “We expect that businesses forced to close due to the tier four restrictions will be able to apply to the council for a Business Temporary Closure Fund grant.

“This Scottish Government grant scheme makes payments to eligible businesses every four weeks in arrears, so the first payments will be made towards the end of January.

“As the Scottish Government has also recently announced a number of other grant schemes for particular sectors and the newly self-employed, we are awaiting updated guidance before we open up the online application process.”

Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “The Highlands have seen relatively low infection rates and making the significant jump from level one to level four poses a big blow to businesses.

“All businesses in every sector are affected, but especially in retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism, which is our largest sector in terms of jobs and value to the economy.

“We need to protect livelihoods and make sure people have jobs to return to once restrictions are lifted.”

• For further information on the new grant visit www.highland.gov.uk/strategicframeworkfund

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