More than 1,500 businesses across Tayside and Fife have claimed almost £18 million in Covid-19 support.
Local authorities across Courier Country have made their first payments of grants of either £10,000 and £25,000 which one council leader said could make “the difference between business failure and business survival”.
The grants are being administered by local authorities on behalf of the Scottish Government and in Fife alone almost £8m of grants have been approved to around 700 businesses.
In Dundee 265 applications have been processed with £3.1m paid. Perth and Kinross council has approved £3.5m to 307 firms an in Angus £3.3m has been paid to almost 300 companies.
John Alexander leader of Dundee City Council, said: “This grant of either £10,000 or £25,000, which does not have to be paid back, represents a lifeline for many firms and small enterprises across Dundee, whose trade has been decimated by coronavirus.
“We have set ourselves the target of making payments within 10 working days of receiving an application form to recognise the fact that our firms need this direct support as fast as we can get it to them and these grants represent the start of that process.”
The £10,000 grant is open to businesses who have a rateable value of up to £18,000 and are in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief. Firms can also get this grant if they applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief.
Retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 – £50,999 can apply for one-off grants of £25,000.
Angus Council leader David Fairweather said: “I am grateful to Angus Council’s staff for working very quickly to turn these applications around in support of our local businesses.
“I don’t think it is overstating the situation to say that these grants could prove to be the difference between business failure and business survival.”
Fife Council said its payments would be made from next week.
Co-leader David Alexander said: “We recognise the work Fife’s businesses are doing during this pandemic, from donating and working with their local communities, to turning their business skills to support the national Covid-19 response.
“We will continue to work with our business community, from small firms to global companies, to help wherever we can to support these firms, their workers and our communities.”
David Littlejohn, Perth & Kinross Council’s head of planning and development, added: “This is an uncertain time for many businesses and our economic development service is focused on helping firms through this crisis.
All the councils have information pages on how to apply for the grants.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes said: “I am grateful for the way in which local authorities across Scotland have managed huge volumes of applications so quickly and paid out millions of grant funding already.”