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Scottish Government reveals £40m fund to provide grants and employment support following new coronavirus restrictions

By Andrew Dixon

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Fiona Hyslop.
Fiona Hyslop.

Scotland's economy secretary Fiona Hyslop has outlined details of a £40 million fund to help businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Covid-19 Restrictions Fund will provide one-off grants of up to £3000, depending on rateable value, to bars, restaurants and other businesses required to close by regulations.

A hardship fund with grants of up to £1500 will support some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that had to close last night.

In addition, up to £9 million of funding will help with the costs of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20 per cent salary contribution required by the UK government.

A discretionary fund of up to £11 million will help businesses that need support but don’t fall into the above categories. This will, for example, support soft play centres that have been unable to reopen this month.

The plan has been developed following discussions with business groups, trades unions and local authorities.

Ms Hyslop said: “The temporary restrictions announced by the First Minister are absolutely essential if we are to prevent a return to the dangerous level of infections that we experienced earlier this year.

“It is a difficult balance and we do not underestimate the challenge that these new measures present for businesses – particularly those in the hospitality sector.

“We have developed a funding plan which will help to protect jobs over the coming fortnight and I encourage business owners to apply for support.

“We are also committed to helping businesses meet their contribution to furlough costs, where staff have to be re-furloughed. We have increased the size of the grant available and are urgently identifying a mechanism to deliver additional support on top of that.

“While I welcome the UK government’s plans to adapt the job retention scheme and the associated consequential funding, we still require clarity on what the Chancellor’s announcement will mean for Scotland.

“This situation further underlines the need for us to have the financial flexibility which would help us to rebuild our economy.”

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