Call for clarity
Sturgeon restates virus grants apply to ‘properties’
Nicola Sturgeon: stated the grant would apply to each property
Businesses are stepping up pressure on the Scottish government amid renewed confusion over who is eligible for new grant support.
The government has left businesses unclear after initially stating that £25,000 would be available to each property.
But when businesses apply for the grant they are told it applies to one grant per business.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, and Fergus Ewing, the Rural Economy Secretary, said in parliament on 18 March that the £25,000 grant would be applicable for each “property” operated by a business.
In parliament yesterday, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon restated that position.
She said the government was making grants of up to £25,000 available to “eligible properties” in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – reassuring business owners who have laid off staff on the understanding that each property would benefit from the grant.
The business support fund is being administered by local authorities, and about 30,000 applications for grants totalling £350 million have already been received.
Jon Sharp, who owns Kilimanjaro Coffee which has six shops in the capital, is among those who have been confused by the government’s position.
He said the Scottish Government initially announced it would be “replicating fully” the scheme in England and Wales which applies to every qualifying property.
“But when it published details it announced just a single grant for each business,” he said.
Greig Anderson, co- owner of Bistros MJS Brasserie in Williamwood East Renfrewshire and Moyra Janes in Pollokshields Glasgow, said: “As things stand I only will be able entitled to receive half of what of two businesses in England or Wales would receive.”
The Scottish Tourism Alliance, representing a number of hospitality and retail businesses, has written to Ms Forbes asking for clarification.
The STA’s members include the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Retail Consortium, and UKHospitality.
In their letter they said: “Firms are telling us that when completing the applications the reality is that it is one grant per firm/company, rather than one grant for each property that a firm has.
“Many of these firms, who sustain hundreds of jobs in communities right across Scotland, have already taken decisions in light of the 18 March announcement and support package in order to combat the immense cash flow challenges that they face.”
Daily Business contacted the Scottish Government on Monday for a comment but has yet to receive a reply.