Scottish Government Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes has extended a scheme to support small businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Forbes unveiled a £220 million package of business grants which includes a move to close some of the funding gap between Scottish and English firms.
The grant model in England saw businesses receive grants of up to £25,000 per property if the building had a rateable value of less than £51,000.
However, in Scotland, the grant was £25,000 per business, meaning firms north of the border with more than one outlet would receive much lower levels of support than their counterparts in England.
The extension means that a business will qualify for 100% grant on the first property and 75% on all subsequent properties.
One Angus business owner said the move had saved 10 jobs at his firm alone.
Stuart Atkinson, proprietor of the North Street chip shop in Forfar, along with two outlets in Arbroath, the Round O and the Cairnie chip shop, described the move as a “victory for common sense.”
He said: “When a business has multiple sites, then there are fixed costs associated with each outlet in terms of rent, utilities and insurance for example, so a single payment per business greatly reduced the impact of the grant.
“The deal is still short of what we would have got on the other side of the border, but I am delighted there has been movement on this.”
Mr Atkinson, who founded his business in 1985, said the announcement meant that two of his three sites which looked to be under threat, now remained viable, safeguarding ten jobs.
“The changes to the grant also means we now have the confidence to invest in an online ordering platform for our customers.” He added.
The funding, which includes support for the self-employed and micro businesses, is in addition to the £2.2 billion business support package received from the UK Treasury.
Colin Borland of the Federation of Small Businesses called for the “swift deployment of the cash, but warned governments north and south of the border may have to provide additional support.
He said: “For those that were due to receive nothing – like the new self-employed and some home-based and vehicle firms this new help could be a lifeline.
“ while for others – like smaller chains – it could provide a critical top-up to the money already in the pipeline.”
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