New figures show scale of ongoing financial support.
More than half a billion pounds in lifeline support has been paid to Scottish businesses affected by the pandemic since November 2020.
The Strategic Framework Business Fund had paid out £214 million by 22 February according to latest figures. Approximately 89% of this support went to small and medium sized businesses with a rateable value less than £51,000.
An additional £218 million was paid out under the Hospitality, Retail and Leisure Top-Up fund in the period to 26 February.
Information has also been published showing payments across nine sectoral schemes including the Wedding Sector Fund which was only available in Scotland.
In total businesses have received more than £533 million in grants since the introduction of the Strategic Framework on 2 November.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“Since the start of the pandemic we’ve done everything in our power to protect people’s livelihoods with business support accounting for over a third of total COVID-19 spend.
“We want as many businesses as possible to benefit from the funding we have made available and I have confirmed that the Strategic Framework Business Fund will continue to support eligible companies into the next financial year.
“The recent Scottish budget also provided certainty and stability to businesses by extending 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses for the whole of next financial year. This is more generous than the equivalent reliefs available in other UK nations.
“I will set out more detail on future business and sector support later this month.”
Mesa café in Dennistoun, Glasgow has benefited from support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund since December.
Mesa’s owner Andrea Bartolini said:
“The regular grant from the Strategic Framework Business Fund has helped me and the business in various ways. Firstly to keep up with the changes in regulations and to put a permanent hatch in place for takeaway orders. It has also helped make up for some of the losses due to the loss of revenue.
“I was relieved to have that money coming in on a monthly basis in these very difficult times and I think it helps lots of small businesses like ours cope better with the situation.”
Scottish Borders-based wedding and event styling, flowers and prop hire company Get Knotted received a grant through the Wedding Fund.
Katie Hart, who runs Get Knotted with her husband Colin, said:
“The support is a huge help and has made a massive difference. It is a very difficult time, with some couples now looking to move their ceremonies to 2023, but I am hopeful we can get back to some normality later this year.”
This running total is in addition to other forms of support such as non-domestic rates relief and is on top of the UK Government’s furlough scheme. It does not cover all available funds, with some due to report later this month and payments continuing until the end of the financial year.
The Strategic Framework Business Fund provides grants of up to £3,000 every four weeks.
Visit Find Business Support for full details of COVID-19 business support including sectoral funds