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Around 4,000 businesses across Argyll and Bute have been supported by a total of £38 million since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the council.
Argyll and Bute Council has been in charge of administering a variety of different funds announced by the Scottish Government.
Funds have been made available to a range of business sectors which are required by law to close or modify their operations.
Grants are generally based on rateable value and paid every four weeks in arrears and have been topped-up with one-off larger payments.
The support for hospitality, non-essential retail and leisure businesses which are required to close was increased on January 11 in an announcement by Kate Forbes MSP, cabinet secretary for finance.
She said in addition to the four weekly grants, additional one-off grants of the following would be made available:
£25,000 for larger hospitality businesses
£6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses
£9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses
£6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses
There has been criticism from opposition Conservatives in parliament that grants are not reaching businesses quickly enough.
Donald Cameron, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, called the funding announcement ‘belated’.
‘We can only hope that this attempt to catch up lives up to the rhetoric and promises,’ he said.
However, Councillor Robin Currie, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said the authority had been working ‘incredibly hard’ to help businesses access funding.
‘To help safeguard livelihoods and recover the area’s economy, these grants are essential financial lifelines to so many of our communities.’
Mr Currie, an Islay-based Liberal Democrat, said the council’s business support teams had been working ’round the clock’.
He said: ‘Recovery is key to the ongoing success for the area. There is no denying that these are difficult times but it is important to remember we will move on from this.’
WHERE TO GET HELP
The council said help and support for businesses could be found on its website and people should check if they are eligible before contacting the council.
Please visit the website at https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-businesses
The council said that if new funding was announced, it would invite applications once it received the criteria from the Scottish Government.
For example, with the recent taxi fund announced on January 18, which pledges a one-off £1,500 grant to eligible cabbies, the council said: ‘We are awaiting further information from the Scottish Government on how the scheme will operate and will contact drivers directly as soon as we are in a position to do so.’
Businesses can also keep up to date with new funds as they launch, by signing up to email alerts from https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/