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More than 2300 businesses get council grants


By Alan Hendry

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Staff have been granted essential worker status to work from Highland Council’s headquarters. The authority is hoping to process 350 applications a day.
Staff have been granted essential worker status to work from Highland Council’s headquarters. The authority is hoping to process 350 applications a day.

Highland Council has helped more than 2300 businesses obtain a small business and self-catering grant.

The Covid-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme was set up to help companies stay in operation during the coronavirus crisis.

It has now paid out £26.89 million to 2341 businesses across the region.

The latest figures show that grants were given to 1341 businesses, to the value of £14.8m, within the past week alone.

The council has been focusing on reducing the large backlog of applications.

It says the backlog of self-catering applications "has now been addressed" and all applications submitted are now being processed as they are received.

Highland Council's head of development and regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: "Unfortunately, over 70 per cent of all business grant applications received are incomplete.

"Over 600 incomplete applications have been worked on over the past week. All information has now been secured from businesses, which will allow the applications to be processed and grants paid.

"However, this extra work has led to inevitable delays and has hampered early payment of grants. Please follow the guidance on the website."

He added: "Efforts will continue in the coming week to reduce the application backlog and ensure that application forms which are submitted and complete are processed as quickly as possible."

Businesses are being asked to remain alert to scams and only respond to any correspondence in relation to business grants if it is from an official Highland Council email address, which has full contact details at the footer of the email.

On Thursday, the council will be launching a self-employed hardship fund and inviting applications.

The council will be delivering this grant scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government and final details are being worked on.

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