The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) said £375 million in funding announced by the UK Government is not enough to save Scottish businesses.
The group welcomed the funding boost, which resulted from the announcement of £4.6 billion in business support from the Treasury in response to new lockdown measures in England.
However, SCC chief executive Dr Liz Cameron OBE said the funding was not enough, and urged the Scottish Government to quickly distribute the cash.
“Given the new lockdown measures are as economically restrictive as March 2020, the additional business support from HM Treasury is needed and to be welcomed,” Dr Cameron said.
“However, it does not go far enough to mitigate the costs of shutting down our businesses.
“At a time when employees are anxious about their jobs and business owners are struggling to plan ahead, with cash running out, we ask that the Scottish Government allocate every penny of this additional funding to supporting businesses and saving our jobs.
“Billions have already been spent helping millions of businesses – we cannot allow businesses to fail at what we all hope will be our last hurdle.”
Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was looking for more “clarity” on the funding.
Meanwhile, both the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) also pushed for the funding to be delivered to businesses before the end of the month.
FSB Scotland policy chairman Andrew McRae said: “This new cash injection could help a share of Scottish firms survive until the vaccine is rolled out. The Scottish Government must ensure this new funding reaches businesses before the end of January.
“The new £375 million should be split between cash grants for smaller property-based firms, and extra help for non-premises based operators that have had little or no help so far.
“But before any of this can happen, councils and government need to break the administrative logjam preventing money reaching businesses.”
Part of the Treasury support will see up to 600,000 retail and hospitality businesses offered a grant of up to £9,000, depending on size.
The SRC has estimated its members will lose as much as £675 million in the course of the new lockdown, which will see the length of time non-essential shops are forced to close from mid-January to February 1.
The group’s director David Lonsdale said it is “vital” for a proportion of the funding to be made available for businesses which will continue to be closed as a result of the new restrictions, calling on Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to provide “early clarity” on forthcoming support.
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