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Eligible Edinburgh businesses can apply for new Discretionary Fund payments from next Wednesday

Posted: 29th January 2021

Applications for £2,000 business grant payments will be open on the City of Edinburgh Council’s website from Wednesday 3 February.

This follows the approval of a recommended fund framework today (29 Jan 2021), at a specially-convened Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work committee.

The framework will guide the Council in distributing £2,796,150 from the Scottish Government for discretionary business grant funding.

To date, the Council has provided financial support to over 15,000 Edinburgh businesses in response to COVID-19, with funding in excess of £156 million since March 2020.

This newly approved ‘Discretionary Grant Fund’ will aim to assist businesses that have been without financial support since the introduction of Brake Restrictions and latterly Strategic Framework Restrictions in October and November 2020. Businesses will receive one off payment of £2,000. This will equate to approximately 1,400 businesses being supported.

Applications to the fund will open on a first come, first served basis on Wednesday 3 February 2021 at 8am.

The eligibility criteria have been designed to especially support applications from suppliers to those businesses that have been forced to close, businesses operating without rateable premises, and businesses that are deemed essential but who have lost their customers due to the restrictions imposed since October 2020.

Businesses owners can review the full eligibility criteria and mandatory evidence required from today (Friday 29 January).

Due to the limited funding available, applications will be handled on a strictly first come, first served basis.

The fund will close when 1,500 applications have been received and reopen (with advance notice) once those applications have been assessed, assuming that they do not all meet the eligibility criteria.

Councillor Kate Campbell, Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener, said:

We know how important this fund is to businesses – in many instances it will be lifeline and as a committee we take that responsibility very seriously. It’s a finite pot of money so we’ve worked hard to make sure we get this right – targeting the fund towards the businesses that need it the most and trying to reach as many as possible.

The fund is aimed at businesses who have been ineligible for other Scottish Government support and who’ve suffered significant losses as a result of restrictions brought in since October. We’ve consulted with partners like the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Chamber of Commerce who have been amazing at helping us to sense check our approach. They’ve shared their valuable knowledge and understanding of their members’ experiences to help us draft the best framework we think is possible in the circumstances.  And we’ve had very useful consultations and input from other elected members.

Councillor Mandy Watt, Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Vice Convener said:

We’ve taken this report to a special committee [today] so that we can start supporting those businesses in need as soon as possible. Sadly, there will still be small enterprises facing hardship who won’t get one of these grants. Further government discretionary grant funding for businesses, as announced yesterday by the Finance Secretary, should be released as quickly as possible so we can give them the assistance that they desperately need.”

From Wednesday 3 February, businesses that fit the criteria agreed today can start to apply and we hope to be able to start making the first payments within a few days of that. We must stress that businesses will be allocated funding on a first come, first served basis.

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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