Highland Council Warns Of Business Grants Scam - Don't Get Caught Out On This
20th April 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has seen an unprecedented rise in scams across the whole of the UK and Highland Council Trading Standards is issuing a warning to local businesses about a new scam that has come to light, regarding business grants.
This scam involves an unsolicited email informing the business that its business grant application has been processed and a payment to be made to you soon. The email then refers the business to a remittance advice for payment details, states the grant will be paid by the end of the day and that if the business has any queries it should make contact using the details displayed on the remittance advice.
Mark McGinty, Trading Standards Team Leader states, "At a time when many businesses are struggling and really need to make use of the business grants available, we can rely on the unscrupulous scammers to step in and attempt to make a bad situation even worse. As this is a scam the payment will not be received by the end of the day, prompting some businesses to make contact with the scammers.
"This of course is exactly what the scammers want, and it will get them that bit closer to taking valuable funds away from the business. I would urge all businesses to check emails received very carefully, and if it is from a source not known to you, delete it."
Allan Maguire Head of Development and Regeneration stated: “Highland Council has received a large volume of applications and we are working through these. Any correspondence in relation to such an application will be from an official Highland Council email address and will provide full contact details at the footer of the email should the business need to do so.”
Businesses wishing advice on scam avoidance should in the first instance visit the Highland Council Trading Standards COVID19 website.
Members of the public wishing advice on a particular matter can contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or visit consumeradvice.scot
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans. Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes.
Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £56,286,250 million to 5135 Highland businesses. The Highland Council's Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: "We now are processing applications and approving payment within days of a business submitting a complete online application form and its accompanying evidence.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that preparations are well underway for re-opening many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres across the region to the public from Monday 1 June 2020. The sites in Highland, along with all other Scottish Local Authorities, have been closed since the end of March due to the government's Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel.
Highland Council's Recovery Board Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government's road map phasing the way out of lockdown, which was published earlier today. The First Minister revealed that Phase 1 of the Government's new four phase plan, could come into effect on 28 May, however the advice remains stay home, protect the NHS and save lives for now.
The Highland Council has noted the outcomes at Inverness Sherriff Court this morning regarding Home Farm Care Home on the Isle of Skye. The Sheriff made no decision on the Care Inspectorate's application to suspend registration but has adjourned the matter until 10 June 2020 on the basis that the collaborative approach being taken will continue to be monitored.
The Highland Council would like to remind Garden Waste Collection Service permit holders that the service resumed last Monday (11th May 2020) after being suspended due to the impact of COVID-19 on staff resources. Carron McDiarmid, Executive Chief Officer for Communities and Place said: "Feedback from our crews from the first week of collections is that the quality of the material collected from the brown bins was excellent with very little contamination which is really positive and I would like to thank the public for making a concerted effort to ensure that only the correct material was put into their bins.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £48.9m million to 4359 Highland businesses. This now includes payments to owners of multiple premises following the expansion of the scheme on 5th May 2020.
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