Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur (pictured), has today (Monday) welcomed the introduction of an island equivalent payment that will allow eligible businesses in Orkney access to the same ongoing support as businesses elsewhere in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that funding will be available to island businesses on the same basis as offered through the Strategic Framework Business Fund to mainland businesses.
Mr McArthur, who last month secured an assurance from the Finance Secretary that this ‘top-up’ funding was being made available, has welcomed the announcement but added that the priority must now be to ensure support makes its way to those who need it most as soon as possible.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr McArthur said:
“Confirmation that eligible businesses in level three areas can now apply for the top-up funding previously announced by the Finance Secretary will come as a relief to businesses in Orkney.
“Level three restrictions have effectively posed the same significant challenges for businesses in Orkney as those in other parts of the country given that everyone is being encouraged to stay home at the moment.
“Many businesses in Orkney are only just getting by as a result and desperately need support to offer them some certainty.
“To her credit, the Finance Secretary recognised this problem during our discussions and agreed to work with local authorities to make available island equivalent grants.
“I’m glad that this has now been established, putting businesses in Orkney on a similar footing to those elsewhere in Scotland.
“However, it has taken time to get to this point, making it all the more important that funding now gets out the door as quickly as possible.
“Some local businesses are in a very precarious position and can’t afford to wait any longer to get access to this essential funding.”