Crisis package for business

Shops, pubs and restaurants get virus rates relief

Kate Forbes: help for business (pic: Terry Murden)

UPDATED 15 MARCH: Scotland’s retailers and businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors will see their rates cut to help them cope with the devastating coronavirus.

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes will also offer a range of grants as part of a £320 million package of support for those businesses hardest hit by the outbreak.

The funding will come from the extra money provided by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in last week’s Budget.

Ms Forbes’ package of support includes:

– a 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April

– an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19

– 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April

– a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April

The Finance Secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from rate payers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.

The support for business comes as ten more people in the UK have died in the last 24 hours after testing positive, bringing the total number of deaths to 21. There have been 121 confirmed cases in Scotland, 60 in Wales and 34 in Northern Ireland.

The US has also extended the travel ban to the UK from Monday and Jet2 has cancelled all flights to Spain, the Balearic Islands  and the Canary Islands.

Travel company Tui has cancelled all holidays in Spain which were due to start between 14 and 16 March.

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