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Mistakes penalised

Traders rejected for support over errors in system

Alex Rowley

Alex Rowley: ‘easy to make a mistake’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Small traders are being rejected for government support because of errors in the system and in their applications, says a Labour MSP.

Economy spokesman Alex Rowley has pointed to ‘significant problems’ with the way a fund which opened for applications on Tuesday is being administered.

Applicants to the Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Service Providers Fund, aimed at traders such as hairdressers, make-up artists, and driving instructors, have received automatic rejections due to errors with the system. 

The fund is being administered by an un-named “partner” of the Scottish Government and does not allow any form of appeal after an unsuccessful application.

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Mr Rowley said“I have received emails from multiple people dismayed after being rejected by this newly launched fund. The Scottish Government has had months upon months to get this service right and as such this will come as a blow to owners of close contact businesses and driving instructors.

“Unlike other funds, there is no recourse of appeal if rejected, which is frankly ridiculous. I have been contacted by people who meet the stringent criteria for support but who have had their applications rejected because of errors in the online system.

“On top of that, it is very easy to make a mistake filling in online applications, resulting in immediate rejection – people shouldn’t be punished for making simple errors when trying to access support during the pandemic.

“Government Ministers need to sort this mess out as a matter of urgency.

“People applying to this fund have already had a long wait to access support, and if people are now being rejected because of faults in the system or something as simple as a typo with no recourse to appeal, it is no wonder it is causing such anxiety for those waiting to know if they can pay their mortgages or buy enough food this month.

“Government support for those in need has been vital in this pandemic, any problems with new support really need to be addressed immediately.”



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