Help for communities

Campbell provides £1m BID boost for local economies

Aileen Campbell

Aileen Campbell: released funds (pic: Terry Murden)

Businesses will share a £1 million resilience fund to spend on projects that will help their local economy.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell has releases the funds for Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to ease pressures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

BIDS allows local businesses to pay an additional levy on top of their business rates. There are 37 active BIDs across Scotland with more in the pipeline.

It has been suggested that local authorities should not collect the BID levy during the current COVID-19 crisis, while the £1 million resilience fund will allow many BIDs to play a vital role in supporting local businesses and town centres during these challenging times.

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and programme director of Scotland’s Improvement Districts, said: “This funding will allow BIDs to play a crucial role in supporting local businesses to access the various mitigation packages that are available, and will provide a forum to bring local businesses and communities together to try and keep our towns and cities moving.

“Many businesses are coming up with creative ways to keep trading, and BIDs can support the scaling up of this innovation and creativity across the country.”

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “This funding announcement is positive and welcome, as BIDs will have a critical role to play in rejuvenating our high streets and town centres and attracting visitors back once the worst of the Covid19 situation passes.”

Third sector help

The Scottish Government has pledged £25m to third sector organisations across Scotland through the newly-created Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF).

The new fund was announced by Communities SecretaryAileen Campbell and will be administered by Social Investment Scotland, Firstport and the Corra Foundation, forming part of a £350m support package for the sector as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The fund will support organisations across the third sector which are at risk of closure due to a sharp decrease in income or that are unable to deliver their services during this period.

Grants start at £5,000 and an additional £5m is available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000.

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