Many businesses across the Highlands and Islands are still waiting to access business support funded by the SNP Government. The latest figures show 18.4% of grants have still not been awarded to businesses in the Highland Council area. The figures for Argyll and Bute are similar at 18.9% while the figures for the Western Isles are one of the worst in Scotland at 31.1%.
That means cash that could be vital to the survival of local employers is not getting where it’s needed. The news comes as the SNP continue to refuse to match business support elsewhere in the UK – meaning businesses with more than one property get less support than their counterparts south of the border.
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said:
“We are now months into this crisis, but far too many local businesses in my region are still waiting for the support they need to survive."
“Small and medium-sized enterprises will be vital to our recovery from any economic downturn. But if a significant portion here across the Highlands and Islands don’t get funding on time, how can they hope to survive and save jobs?"
“Businesses in Scotland are already at a disadvantage due to the lower level of support offered by the SNP government."
“Now they need to hear what Nicola Sturgeon’s Ministers will do to speed up these payments.”
Scottish businesses can only claim up to £18,500 for additional properties. Businesses with additional properties will get additional grants of up to 75% of the value of the first grant. This means that companies’ additional properties will be eligible for grants of up to £7,500 or £18,500 depending on what grant it is eligible for. (Scottish Government, 4 May 2020, link).
South of the border, small and medium sized businesses can claim up to £25,000 for every property. The UK Government, in setting the criteria for grants to small businesses, says: 'If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.’ (UK Government, 1 May 2020, link).
The incompetent SNP government is not only hanging onto money from the UK Government that should be going to Scottish businesses, it is dragging its feet on approving grants. The Scottish economy cannot take much more of this SNP failure.