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Scottish Government finance secretary Kate Forbes urges Highland businesses to apply for special grants to offset the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic; the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP said more than 90,000 business ratepayers may be eligible across the country

By Philip Murray

MSP Kate Forbes
MSP Kate Forbes

HIGHLAND businesses are being urged to apply for grants to help deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

One-off grants are available which aim to protect jobs, prevent firms from closing and hope to boost economic recovery.

More than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland are eligible to benefit.

Kate Forbes, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said the grant support is additional to separate tax relief measures and is part of a package of measures worth £2.2 billion.

Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

  • a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses, or
  • a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact Highland Council, as local authorities are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Kate Forbes, who is also Scotland's Finance Secretary, said: “While our primary concern is for people’s health, it is clear that the coronavirus outbreak will have severe economic consequences, and we are treating it as an economic emergency.

“This is a very challenging time for businesses, particularly those in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors across the Highlands.

“We are determined to help keep companies in business and support them and their staff during this difficult time.

“Local authorities are the most efficient way to deliver this and we have worked closely with them to deliver these measures – and eligible businesses can apply now.

“Local authorities will aim to make payments within 10 working days, and I’d like to thank them for their help in ensuring this support is delivered as quickly as possible.

“The Covid-19 situation, however, is both severe and fast-moving and requires a co-ordinated UK response. I will continue to work closely with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations.”

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