Publication - FOI/EIR release

COVID-19 local authorities administering coronavirus business support grants: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
12 Apr 2021
COVID-19 local authorities administering coronavirus business support grants: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100148215
Date received: 1 Feb 2021
Date responded: 22 Feb 2021
Information requested

"The Scottish Government's directive/procedimure/guidelines to local council's in relation the distribution of Covid-19 grants in respect of rate registered businesses premises.

Documentation pertaining to the early withdrawal of first grants (original documentation stated March 2021) including who instructed this? Where and when was this published? When was it to cease (early) from?

What happens to unallocated funds council withhold (for whatever reason).”

Response

1. Guidance for local authorities administering the coronavirus business support grants was provided in Local Government Finance Circulars as detailed below. As outlined in the guidance, these grants were intended to help keep companies in business and keep productive capacity so that they can recover.

Local Government Finance Circular 5/2020 Covid-19 Grant Funding Scheme (superseded)
https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-government-finance-circular-5-2020-covid-19-grant-funding-schemes/

Local Government Finance Circular 8/2020 Covid-19 Grant Funding Scheme (as amended)
https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-government-finance-circular-8-2020-covid-19-grant-funding-schemes-as-amended/

Local Government Finance Circular 9/2020 Covid-19 Grant Funding Scheme Phase 2
https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-government-finance-circular-9-2020-covid-19-grant-funding-scheme-phase-2/

Local Government Finance Circular 11/2020 Covid-19 Grant Funding Scheme Phase 3
https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-government-finance-circular-11-2020-covid-19-grant-funding-scheme-phase-3/

From 2 November the Strategic Framework Business Fund offers grants for business, registered for non-domestic rates, and required to close by law or to significantly change its operations by law due to COVID-19 restrictions from 2 November 2020. Information for Local Authorities is available below.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-authority-discretionary-fund---information-for-local-authorities/

The Scottish Government announced on 21st December 2020 (hospitality), 27th December 2020 (retail) and 11th January 2021 (leisure) a new package of support to help businesses in these sectors closed or impacted by protective measures. Additional sector top-up grant guidance is available below:
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-strategic-framework-business-fund-sector-top-up-funds-hospitality-retail-leisure-information-for-local-authorities/

2. On 8 June 2020, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance announced that the Business Support Grant scheme would close on 10 July 2020. This decision was taken because applications to the fund had slowed, and we wanted to ensure that any remaining resources could be re-routed to help business in other ways. Information about the closing date was widely publicised via a range of websites including those of local authorities, mygov.scot and national support websites such as www.findbusinesssupport.gov.scot. The information was also circulated to business representative bodies for example; Association Of British Insurers; Confederation Of British Industry Scotland; Federation Of Small Businesses Scotland; Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland; Institute Of Directors Scotland; Scottish Chambers of Commerce; Scottish Council for Development & Industry; Scotland Food and Drink; Scottish Financial Enterprise; Scottish Retail Consortium and Scottish Tourism Alliance.

A number of links to find how we publicised this information is below:

News release of 8 June 2020
https://www.gov.scot/news/more-support-for-small-business/

Grant information webpage on mygov.scot
https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/grant-closures-and-application-deadlines/

Issues Log - The guidance for the scheme was supplemented with a log of the agreed approach for issues where it was not immediately apparent how the scheme guidelines applied. This log was shared with all local authorities and included an entry advising local authorities of the closure of the scheme and requirement to update their websites to publicise the closing date.
https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/foi-eir-release/2020/08/foi-202000054934/documents/foi-202000054934---information-released/foi-202000054934---information-released/govscot%3Adocument/FOI-202000054934%2B-%2BInformation%2Breleased.pdf

Example of information on individual local authority website:
https://www.fife.gov.uk/kb/docs/articles/health-and-social-care2/coronavirus-covid-19/businesses-and-employers/scottish-government-business-support-fund

https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/248/grants_-_business/932/covid-19_grants

Chamber of commerce news release
https://www.caithnesschamber.com/2020/07/07/last-chance-to-apply-for-scottish-government-covid-19-support-schemes-deadline-5pm-10-july/

The information the Scottish Government holds on record that falls within the scope of your request can be found in the supporting documents in Annex B, covering the exemption relating to the release of personal data.

Unfortunately we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested as statutory exemptions under FOI(S)A apply. Further information on what exemptions apply and why can be found in Annex A.

3. Local authorities are delivering the funds on behalf of Scottish Government and are provided with a funding allocation based on estimated maximum take up of grant funding is allocated solely for the purposes of delivering specific businesses support schemes and on closure, any remaining funds which have not been used are re-routed by the Scottish Government to support business where it is most required. This approach has already enabled us to re-direct money to help business in other ways.

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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