The Scottish Government has released figures showing that over 59,000 coronavirus grants, worth £679 million, have been distributed to Scottish businesses.
However the statistics show that the volume of cash reaching firms has slowed further still with £58million being distributed between 5 May and 12 May. By comparison £95million was dispersed between 28 April and 4 May, and £138million between 21 April and 27 April. Local authorities have received around 79,000 grant applications in total, and had received 74,000 grant applications at the end of April.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland has requested a meeting with Ministers to discuss how to clear any backlog. Official documents show the Scottish Government has earmarked £1.2 billion of budget for this grants schemes, which sees firms receive grants of £10,000 or £25,000 and additional grants for operators with multiple properties.
In addition, FSB in Scotland has urged Ministers to expand the grants scheme to cover indirect rate payers, such as firms that operate from shared offices or indoor markets. The Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government recently tweaked their grants programmes to cover these types of operator.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “The most important thing is that money continues to reach Scottish smaller firms. But today’s statistics suggest that grants aren’t being processed as quickly as they once were, and likely thousands of applications are weeks old. We want to talk to Ministers about how the Scottish Government can work with councils to clear the outstanding paperwork.
“FSB wants to see Ministers expand the scheme to cover indirect ratepayers. And we’d like to see help for vehicle and home-based firms too. It looks likely now that there should be money available to make at least some of these changes. These types of businesses are facing similar difficulties to those that have already received help.
“We remain concerned that some businesses that could be due a grant simply don’t understand that help is available. We need new action to promote the scheme and other business support to hard-to-reach businesses like migrant entrepreneurs.”
- Read about the UK Government scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/top-up-to-local-business-grant-funds-scheme and the NI Executive scheme here: https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/news/ps10000-small-business-grant-scheme-now-open-businesses-occupy-rental-property
- Official statistics about the grant figures, including grants distributed by each local authority, can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-fund-grant-statistics/
- The original 10 day payment target is mentioned in this Scottish Government release: https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-1-billion-business-support-fund-opens/
- The allocated budget for the grant funding can be found here: https://www.parliament.scot/S5_EconomyJobsFairWork/Inquiries/20200425-ScottishGovernment-Response.pdf
As experts in business, FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in Government. Its aim is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.
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