Business Closure Grant Scheme open for applications
7th January 2021
The Highland Council today launched the Temporary Business Closure Grant. This grant is available for businesses who have had to close due to the COVID-19 protective measures introduced on Boxing Day.
The Closure Grant operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a grant of £2,000 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000 and a grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a rateable value of £51,001 and above. The grant is payable every four weeks, in arrears, for the duration protective measures are in place.
Cllr Trish Robertson, Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee said: "We recognise the significant financial hardships faced by business at this time, and the Council is pleased to assist the Scottish Government in getting this essential grant out to Highland businesses."
As the first grant payments are due towards the end of January, we urge all affected businesses to go to our website, take the 15 minutes required to read the guidance, gather the bank and business evidence required and to apply using our online form.
As a large number of businesses will be able to apply for this grant, it is important that they supply the correct supporting information with their application. This will enable us to quickly process their applications and make the necessary checks to ensure business correctly get what they are due.
Some eligible businesses who have already received two Business Restriction grant payments for November and December, will not need to apply and they will automatically get the Temporary Closure grant paid to them. Business who were eligible but had not yet applied for their Business Restriction Grant, only need to apply for the Closure Grant and the Council will automatically assess and pay them the Business Restriction Grant as well if eligible.
For more information please visit www.highland.gov.uk/strategicframeworkfund
Over the coming weeks the Scottish Government will be making available a range of other grants to businesses, including Taxi and Private Hire; Newly Self Employed, Mobile Close Contact Services and a Highland Discretionary Business Grant scheme. The Council has been asked to deliver these grant schemes and as detailed eligibility and grant scheme information becomes available from the Scottish Government, the Council will provide guidance and detail on its website as to who is eligible and how to apply for grant.
Members of The Highland Council's Caithness Committee have approved additional funding for a project to bring new life to the site of a former derelict building on Wick High Street. In September last year the Scottish Government announced extra funding through the Town Centre Fund as part of its national economic recovery stimulus package, particularly aimed at supporting construction activity across Scotland.
Inverness Councillors on The Highland Council's City and Area Recovery Group today discussed the importance of local businesses having an online digital presence for customer access during the pandemic and post-lockdown recovery. Good digital access via websites and social media was the common theme raised by two speakers from Business Gateway and the Highland Food and Drink Trail in presentations to Councillors.
The Highland Council has begun detailed designs works on a major £2.5m energy project, part-funded by the Scottish Government through Salix Finance. At a site on the River Ness, near Whin Park in Inverness, the council is preparing to install a 92kW ‘Archimedes Screw' hydroelectric power turbine.
The Council's ICT in Learning team have been working hard to continue to support our school communities as we deliver remote learning to all children and young people across Highland. Chair of Education committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I want to thank all of our staff in Education who have worked incredibly hard to ensure that our school communities are receiving support and a quality education experience.
Enrolment for all ELC providers, including local authority nurseries, partner settings and commissioned childminders, will take place online this year. Enrolment week for ELC places will take place on Monday 8 February to Friday 12 February 2021.
Following discussions at the recent Council meeting, the Council Leader has formally written to the Local Government Boundary Commission on their proposals for councillor numbers and ward boundaries in the Highland Council area. She advised the Boundary Commission that the Council rejected the Commission's proposals in their entirety and formally requested that they halt this process immediately and review the whole issue of remote and rural area boundaries and councillor numbers in consultation with the Highland Council and other local authorities who have mainland councils with inhabited islands.
The Scottish Government has launched a £1,500 grant scheme to assist each individual licensed taxi or private hire driver with their fixed costs including licence plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road. The Highland Council's Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson said: "The Highland Council has been asked by the Scottish Government to deliver this grant scheme on their behalf.
Applicants for the Scottish Government's Temporary Business Closure Grant can now apply even if they do not have a formal business bank account. Businesses will now be able to use a personal bank account as evidence, if the account is mainly used for their business banking.
A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of.
Members at yesterday's previously adjourned and re-scheduled meeting of Highland Council voted to carry a motion introduced to make adjustments to the agenda in light of the situation in relation to COVID-19 and Brexit. The urgent motion was proposed by Highland Council Leader Cllr Margaret Davidson and supported by the Leader of the official Opposition, Cllr Raymond Bremner.