The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) – who led calls for this change – warmly welcomed the move, confirmed in a statement to the Scottish Parliament by Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Fiona Hyslop this afternoon. Additional details about the change to the grant funding will be released later this week.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “All over Scotland, many independent businesses have found themselves in the desperate position of being excluded from coronavirus financial support because of the type of property from which they operate. And many of these firms faced the same ongoing costs as those entitled to help.
“After FSB raised these issues, it looks like Ministers have recognised this injustice and have taken the right steps. While we need to understand the detail, they sound like savvy changes that could provide real support for many independent firms in their hour of need. However this help needs to be distributed quickly before these businesses run out of road.”
The Scottish Government also published new workplace guidance for the retail and manufacturing sector about the steps operators in these sectors will need to take before re-opening.
Andrew McRae said: “It is good to see the Scottish Government get this documentation out the door, not least because many firms want to begin to prepare to re-open. At every turn policymakers need to get practical, accessible guidance to firms at the earliest possible point.”
The Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, also announced:
Scottish Government will extend the eligibility of the current small business retail, hospitality & leisure grant to businesses that occupy multiple premises with a cumulative value above £51,000.
Scottish Government will also extend this to businesses occupying premises such as shared office spaces, business incubators and shared industrial units where the landlord is the ratepayers.
Support for businesses without a bank account will be explored by the Scottish Government who were originally excluded from schemes such as the Hardship Funds.
The detail in all of this will be key and we are expecting further details to be released later this week. We will keep you updated on developments as soon as possible.
We are aware that some gaps still remain e.g. single property over £51K threshold which will remain as an issue.