New support package ahead of Strategic Framework Update.
A new £80 million Covid Economic Recovery Fund targeting support for businesses and communities will help Scotland as it moves to a new phase in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Councils will have the flexibility to target support either using existing schemes like Scotland Loves Local, Business Improvement Districts or place based investment programmes, or individual local authority grant schemes. Councils will also to able to use the funding to support low income households.
In addition, a further £3 million has been allocated to the City Centre Recovery Fund, which supports sustainable economic recovery for seven city local authority areas including by driving footfall to businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
The Scottish Government will tomorrow publish a revised Strategic Framework which will set out an updated approach to managing and recovering from COVID-19.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with business owners in Edinburgh City Centre to discuss how support provided to date had helped drive up footfall despite the impact of the pandemic, and how they anticipated this latest funding could further those efforts during the recovery phase.
The First Minister said:
“This £80 million Covid Economic Recovery Fund allows councils to consider the needs of local businesses, communities and households and to target support to maximise economic recovery in their areas.
“We know public health measures which were necessary to control COVID-19 have had a severe economic impact and, since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefitted from more than £4.4 billion in support from the Scottish Government.
“It is our aim to get back to normality as quickly as possible. Our updated Strategic Framework, which I will set out to Parliament tomorrow, will support resilience in communities across Scotland by outlining robust plans to prepare for possible new variants or other future emergencies, should we need to act to protect public health. Of course, the best way to support business sustainably is to act responsibly and to sustainably manage the risks the virus presents as we begin to live the more normal life that we all crave."
COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison said:
“COSLA welcomes today’s announcement of £80 million of flexible funding for Councils to use in ways that best support local businesses, communities and low income households.
“This additional funding will enable Councils to play an even greater role in supporting economic and social recovery in their areas, as we move out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that businesses, communities and low income households have been hit hard over the last two years and Local Government has been at the forefront of supporting those most affected. The flexibility offered by this funding will enable Councils to provide local support where they know the need is greatest.”
£80 million for the Covid Economic Recovery Fund is made up of the remaining funding from the £375 million Omicron business support package and underspend from some of the funding allocated, where business demand has been less than initially forecast.
£3 million was announced on 10 February 2022 by the Finance Secretary for the City Centre Recovery Fund. A further £3 million has now been allocated bringing the total for the City Centre Recovery Fund to £6 million allocated from the overall £375 million support package.
A further £3.3 million for the childcare sector and £2.4 million for the outbound travel sector has also been allocated from the overall £375 million support package.
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