Hundreds of Falkirk district businesses receive government support

More than 2000 businesses in Falkirk district have received support from the grant schemes set up to help during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Fiona Dobie
Thursday, 16th July 2020, 7:44 am
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 7:44 am
Falkirk Council has already approved grants to  support more than 2000 local businesses.
Falkirk Council has already approved grants to support more than 2000 local businesses.

Falkirk Council has already paid out £23.7 million to small and medium businesses on behalf of the Scottish Government under the Small Business and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business grant schemes.

Applications to both schemes closed last Friday and the local authority confirmed this week that 2116 applications have already been approved and a further 80 are yet to be processed.

However, according to official government figures some businesses have missed out as data covering the period up to July 7 – three days before the scheme closed – shows a total of 2455 applications had been received by Falkirk Council at that time.

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A spokesperson for Falkirk Council said that with the funds closing at the end of last week there had been “a relatively large increase in applications”.

They said 2116 grants had been awarded with a value of over £23.7 million and 80 applications are still to be assessed adding: “The majority of these came in in last few days of scheme but there are a number of older applications where further information has to be sought to allow assessment.

“By the time the scheme is complete we expect to have paid out around £24.3 million to almost 2200 applicants.”

The Scottish Government’s figures suggest that more than 250 businesses that applied have not received a grant.

The council spokesperson added: "These direct funds in addition to other support measures introduced by both UK and Scottish Governments have provided much needed support for local businesses across the Falkirk area to meet immediate overheads at this difficult time.

"All the grants have been assessed and awarded on clear eligibility criteria set by the Scottish Government.

"We continue to support businesses through the Business Gateway team e-zines and social media pages as well the provision of updated direct specific business support advice on the Council’s COVID-19 Business Support web pages.”

Federation of Small Businesses (Scotland branch) Policy Manager Susan Love said the grants have been a “lifeline” for many.

“It would be helpful to have a more detailed explanation of why thousands of applications have been rejected,” Ms Love said.

“As businesses begin to re-open after lockdown, we need to keep recovery on track and avoid the devastating impact of businesses being asked to close once, or multiple, times as a result of Test and Protect. That’s why we’ve called on the Scottish Government to consider a new financial support scheme to mitigate the impact of this scenario.”

The Scottish Government has stated that businesses have not received funding because they were not eligible, they did not apply, or their council is still processing the application.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We are working closely with local authorities to ensure a fair and consistent treatment of businesses across Scotland.”

“New applications for the schemes slowed as a large number of businesses had already applied, but we remain committed to ensuring every penny we receive from the UK Government for business support - and more – will be passed to businesses.”

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