Funding delay claim
Ministers facing calls to get money to firms
Douglas Ross: ‘support has been so excruciatingly slow’
Pressure is growing on the Scottish government to get badly-needed funds to struggling businesses.
Ministers will today announce that a new£1,500 fund to support 38,000 taxi and private hire drivers affected by the pandemic will launch this week.
But the Scottish Tories say that it is already a week late and say it adds to other funding delays that are putting businesses at risk of going bust.
The Tories point to the Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey released by the government this weekend showing one in four firms have “no, or less than three months, cash reserves”.
The Scottish Government is accused of delivering just £55 million of a promised £715 million in support.
Self-catering businesses have also complained that not enough support is reaching them quickly enough.
Daily Business revealed last week that a Digital Boost grant for SMEs was only funded to support 400 businesses, leaving thousands of angry applicants empty-handed and claiming they had wasted their time.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The SNP’s business support has been so excruciatingly slow to get out the door that it will be too late for many companies.
“Taxi drivers were promised a fund would launch last Monday and we’re only just finding out the details about it now. The cash still won’t reach them for days.
“Self-caterers are being short-changed too and made to wait more than a month to find out exactly what support they’re going to get.
“The same picture is happening for all kinds of businesses. The SNP are delivering support at a snail’s pace and these severe delays will cost jobs.
“Scottish Government statistics show they’ve only delivered a tenth of funding promised since October. It’s nowhere near good enough.
“For months, we’ve said the SNP should set up a Covid Business Council to help protect jobs. They haven’t bothered but now we learn they’ve got time to set up an Indyref2 task force. Their priorities are all wrong and once again, we’re seeing the SNP treating business as an afterthought.”
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “We know how difficult this pandemic has been for taxi drivers and their families. They’ve truly gone the extra mile, continuing to provide a vital service for key workers and vulnerable individuals throughout the lockdown and beyond.
“Following the introduction of tighter regulations at Christmas I have trebled the budget originally announced for this fund to £57 million, enough to provide grants of £1,500 to all of Scotland’s 38,000 taxi and private hire drivers.