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New Business Grant Scheme To Open In New Year

23rd December 2020

The Leader of The Highland Council is encouraging all businesses to apply for a new support grant.

The Council has paid out Business Restriction Grants of over £740,000 to 461 businesses impacted by the current Tier 1 restrictions

Businesses required to close due to the Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, will be able to apply for further Scottish Government grants early in the New Year.

Cllr Trish Robertson, Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee explained, "We expect that businesses forced to close due to the Tier 4 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. This will help us identify which businesses are eligible and to give clear guidance to business on how to access the grant and eligibility criteria. We are aiming to give detailed guidance in the first week of January."

Currently the Council is delivering a Business Restriction Fund grant for hospitality businesses that are legally required to close earlier than their normal business hours. This scheme, which is also paid 4 weeks in arrears, has been running since 2 November and the Council has now paid the second grant in advance of Christmas and well before the due date of 28 December 2020. Eligible businesses who have not yet applied for payment of this grant will be able to apply retrospectively in the New Year.

Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "The Highlands have seen relatively low infections rates and making the significant jump from Level 1 to Level 4 in a few days' time, poses a big blow to businesses.

"All business 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. I encourage all businesses to apply for this new Temporary Closure Fund grant and I will continue to press for the Governments to provide more information and clarity on longer-term plans to support local businesses."

For more information on the new grant businesses are asked to go to