£320m Coronavirus Rescue Package for Businesses From Scottish Government

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced a £320m rescue package for businesses.

The cash is being made available to support business through the Covid-19 outbreak.

She also revealed that a £50m hardship fund will be made available to people who lose their jobs as a result of a downturn caused by the virus.

The action has been taken to try to limit the impact of the pandemic on Scotland’s economy.

The first Scots fatality was confirmed on Friday after an elderly patient with underlying health issues died in the NHS Lothian area.

During the 2020-21 financial year, business will be boosted with:
◾75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
◾£80m fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of Covid-19
◾1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
◾Fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020

The finance secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from ratepayers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.

Ms Forbes said: “Covid-19 will have challenging implications for businesses and the economy over the coming weeks and months.

“As well as following the latest health and travel advice, it’s also crucial we consider the latest economic analysis and listen carefully to what the business community is telling us. We know that the tourism and hospitality sectors are facing immediate pressure, which is why we have directed support to them in particular.”

She said that all ratepayers would benefit from a relief that effectively reversed the planned inflationary uplift that was due to come into effect in April.

Kate Forbes also said the Scottish government was preparing a £50m fund for people who lose their jobs as a result of measures taken to limit the spread of the virus. This makes up the rest of the £360m-plus grant given by the Treasury in last week’s budget.

She told BBC News: “£50m will go to a hardship fund which will be announced shortly. That will look at, for example, people who are self- employed or people who have lost their jobs.

“We have allocated every consequential penny we have received towards business support but I would believe and hope that further support comes to help us meet business needs.

Article supplied by BBC News

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