Businesses across Highland are starting to receive their grants from the COVID-19 Business Grant Scheme. The grant scheme, which now includes self-catering premises, will bring over £94m emergency funding to around 10,000 Highland businesses.
Since its launch by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes MSP on 24 March 2020, Highland Council has set up a dedicated team to manage the grant and establish a system that can process large daily volumes of grant yet ensure the money reaches the right businesses.
With the newly created grant scheme now operational and 334 business grants processed to date with a total value of £4m, the Council is scaling up its efforts and redeploying staff from their current duties to help manage the grant scheme. Over the coming week the team will increase to over 40 staff, working towards a target of processing over 350 applications per day with a total grant value of approx. £4m.
Reflecting the financial pressure facing businesses, it is not surprising that within days of launch, the Council has received nearly 3000 applications for grant assistance. This has created a significant backlog of applications. The applications are being processed in date order received and hence, it is regretful but inevitable, that not all the applications will be processed within the 10 working days target. The Council is working tirelessly to minimise any delays in payments.
Businesses who have not applied are encouraged to go to the Council’s website to determine whether they are eligible for either the Small Business Grant or the Self-Catering Business Grant.
Applicants are asked to follow the guidance offered to ensure they submit an accurate and complete application form together with requested evidence.
For further information, latest coronavirus developments and changes to key Council services visit www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus