Home   News   Article

Highland Council economy and infrastructure committee chairwoman Trish Robertson praises staff who delivered Scottish Government business relief to firms in the Highlands

By Alasdair Fraser

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Councillor Trish Robertson wants people to take part in the scheme
Councillor Trish Robertson wants people to take part in the scheme

Local authority staff who worked to deliver Covid-19 grants to hard-hit Highland businesses have been praised by a senior councillor.

Cllr Trish Robertson, Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee chairwoman, took time to thank the employees at a meeting today.

The staff have spent the past two years delivering a changing array of support for local businesses during various lockdowns and restrictions during the pandemic.

The Scottish Government has provided the council with dedicated funds to enable it to deliver the various grant schemes on its behalf.

To do this quickly and effectively, a skilled team of council staff concentrated efforts on providing businesses with information and setting up systems to ensure the grants could be processed swiftly and efficiently.

The team has also liaised with business representative groups to help promote the grant schemes to members and help ensure individual businesses accessed the grants they were entitled to.

Cllr Robertson said: “Since the Covid pandemic began, there has been a lot of work going on to make sure businesses get the grant support due to them and the team doing this have proved to be very effective.

“It’s been a rapidly changing situation. No one was prepared for Omicron and the pre-Christmas restrictions which hit particular businesses very hard.

“The team have had to react quickly to make sure the support has reached eligible businesses in very short timescales.

“As an example, most recently the team wrote directly to 790 eligible hospitality businesses, and within two days the first applications were received, processed and grant payments approved.”

Cllr Robertson reminded businesses to use the Scottish Government's Find Business Support website to check if they were eligible for other grant support.

She added: “The deadline for applications for these schemes is tight and businesses cannot afford to wait or put off applying.”

Full details of the current grant schemes being delivered by the council on behalf of the Scottish Government are available here

The currently live schemes are:

Business Ventilation Fund - This grant seeks to help businesses improve ventilation and air quality on their premises to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. Businesses can claim back costs to improve ventilation of up to £2500. The grant scheme is targeted to high-risk settings where people come into close proximity, such as hospitality and leisure sectors.

Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Schemes - These grant schemes are now closed with the Council completing the remaining grant awards. Grants to the value of £4.48m to 745 Highland businesses.

Taxi and Private Hirer Driver and Operator Support Fund - This grant provides a £750 one-off payment to eligible drivers and a grant of £750 - £15,000 to operators subject to the number of vehicles they have. This £690k grant scheme has been launched and the Council has written out to eligible drivers and operators.

Brewers Fund - This grant will be paid to a small number of brewers who have been affected as part of the supply chain to the hospitality sector. This scheme will be similar to a previous Covid business support grant payment which the Council delivered last year. Final details have just been received and the Council will shortly write out to eligible Brewers.

Nightclubs Fund - This grant (£25,000 to £75,000 depending on rateable value) will be paid to a small group of nightclub businesses. Delivery of this grant scheme will be part Scottish Government (application/assessment) and part Council (grant payment). The Council has contacted all Nightclub businesses and first payments have been made.

Table Service Fund - This fund will provide a one-off payment to licensed premises trading as a Public House which were required to implement table service and social distancing as a result of the restrictions in place 27 December 2021 to 24 January 2022. Eligible businesses will receive either a grant (£2,500 to £5,000 depending on rateable value). The Council will shortly write out to eligible businesses.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More