This morning, 15 April 2020, the Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced that the Scottish Government will be issuing a further £220m worth of grants to assist SMEs in Scotland, including £120m to extend the Small Business Grant Scheme. The additional £100m fund will be specifically for SME firms that are deemed ineligible for the existing COVID-19 support.
There have been calls for the Scottish Government to release further support for Scots firms that have been forced to lockdown in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the initial joy when Rishi Sunak announced the £2.8 billion support for SMEs in relation to every business property it owned, it soon transpired it was not being applied the same in Scotland. Rather than being applied for each property, it was only for each business. This meant that if a restaurant owner had 10 properties, they were still only received one £25k grant, the same as another restaurant owner with only one property.
The extension of the Small Business Grant Scheme means this will now be distributed on a per property basis at 75% for each additional property (with 100% being paid for the first property) as well as widening eligibility for the optional grant scheme.
Forbes hopes that the additional £100m will protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress that are ineligible for other schemes, and will be distributed through local authorities and enterprise agencies. The Scottish Government has advised that businesses who do not need help should refrain from claiming unless absolutely necessary.
Applications will be open by the end of April for the new £100m fund and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.
If you require any support during this pandemic from Harper Macleod, please get in touch and we are happy to help. We will bring you more information when it comes out.