Following its launch on Tuesday 20th October 2020, Highland Council has received and paid out the first Business Hardship Fund grants.
As part of the Scottish Government’s response to the COVID-19 Brake Restrictions which came into effect on 9 October, the Council has been asked to deliver this grant scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Across Highland some 800 businesses will benefit, with total grant available of £1.23m
Following the First Minister’s announcement on 21 October, the value of the grants has increased and now grants of £1,440 or £2155, dependent on Rateable Value, are available for eligible businesses up to a maximum of £14,000 if the business has multiple premises.
To be eligible for the grant, the business must be:
A hospitality business or certain gyms which are required by the current regulations to operate in a restricted way; or
A producer/wholesale business based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses which have been required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way.
These businesses must be able to evidence a 25% reduction in turnover during the current brake period.
Chair of the Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson, said:
“The Scottish Government is making this grant available only to certain food and drink premises that are serving food and drink to non-residents and who have been obliged to change their working practices.
“As hospitality businesses such as Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfast, hostels and self-catering are still allowed to accept guests and can provide catering for them where this is part of their normal business offer, the Scottish Government have excluded them from this grant scheme.”
“I advise business owners to go to COVID-19 Business Grant page on the Council’s website, read carefully the guidance provided, check to see if they are eligible, and if they are, to urgently complete the online application form.”
The Council leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson added:
“This grant can provide vital support for businesses affected and although the criteria to qualify will not cover all businesses, I urge any business owners who are eligible to apply before the deadline of 5pm on Tuesday 3rd November.
“People must act now and ensure that together we get as much of the available grant as possible to Highland businesses.”
“We also ask that business complete the application form accurately and provide the right evidence.
“If they do not do this and we need go back to them, this not only delays the payment of their grant but delays others getting their grants as well.”