Highland Businesses Start Receiving Closure Grants - Have You Applied Yet?
25th January 2021
Businesses throughout Highland will today start seeing Closure Grant payments in their bank accounts. The Business Closure Grant is a Scottish Government scheme, administered by The Highland Council, which gives grants of £2000 and £3000 to businesses who have had to close due to the COVID-19 protective measures introduced on Boxing Day.
Cllr Trish Robertson, Chair of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee said: "We have had a great response to this grant scheme and have been working flat out over the last few weeks to process over 3300 applications. The first 1600 businesses will receive their grants today and over the coming days, we will be making payment for all the eligible applications we received up to Friday the 22 January 2021. We will then process applications as we receive them and resolve any outstanding eligibility issues experienced with some of the applications already received.
"There are still many eligible businesses who have yet to apply for this grant scheme. We therefore ask that business owners look at our website and take the 15 minutes needed to read the guidance, gather the bank and business evidence required and to apply using our online form. If after doing this you do not think you are eligible please refer to our guidance on the website on the other grant schemes that are available or proposed by the Scottish Government.
"While our priority remains to get the Closure Grant paid, we have just received details from the Scottish Government, that will now allow us to pay eligible businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors, a top up grant. Depending on your sector and size of business, top-up grants between the value of £6,000 to £25,000 are available."
As long as businesses have applied for either a Business Restriction or Closure Grant, eligible businesses need not do anything as the appropriate payment will be sent from the Council automatically.
For more information please visit www.highland.gov.uk/strategicframeworkfund
The First Minister announced yesterday (2 March 2021) to the Scottish Parliament that all remaining primary school children are to return to school full-time from 15 March, with all secondary pupils returning in some form from the 15 March and until the 2 April. Welcoming the announcement, Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted that we can see the return of more of our pupils to school settings in the next couple of weeks.
A visitor management strategy with £1.5 million investments will be at the heart of proposals being considered by Highland Councillors as they decide the local authority's 2021/22 to 2023/24 revenue budget tomorrow (Thursday 4 March 2021). Chair of the Council's Tourism Committee Cllr Gordon Adam said: "Members will be asked to support a long-term Highland Visitor Management Strategy which could provide a range of investment opportunities in roads; parking and visitor management; public toilets; enhanced litter and waste collection services; and provision for motorhomes; and public transport.
People in The Highland Council area will soon be receiving coronavirus vaccines in their local communities with the help of a purpose-built mobile vaccination unit coined the ‘Jabbernaut'. Highland Council transport and housing maintenance staff have procured and built a custom-made mobile vaccine unit for NHS Highland to enable health staff to deliver vaccinations across the Highlands.
The Highland Council today (Tuesday 2 March 2021) widened eligibility and extended the deadline for businesses to apply for its Discretionary Business Grant Scheme. The Council's Economy and Regeneration Manager Andy McCann said: "We are pleased to advise, that following extra money being made available to us from the Scottish Government, we have now opened up the grant scheme to allow more businesses to apply.
To help mitigate the persistent uncertainty and challenges arising from the pandemic, the Highland Council continues its humanitarian support, in partnership with the Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE), which operates FareShare Scotland in the north of Scotland. With funding from the Scottish Government and donations from supermarkets and food suppliers, FareShare, the Highland Council, local community groups and the Third Sector have adopted a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to food support for the wellbeing of households across the Highlands.
The Corporate Resources Committee of Highland council debated the latest account to December 2020 that show an underspend in staffing costs of £14,474. This saving has helped to create a surplus and stated in the report "at current projections for the year-end outturn position suggest a net year end budget surplus of £3.1m, a significant improvement from the £8.7m forecast overspend reported to this committee in November." Councillor Matthew Reiss appeared today to chair the meeting of the Corporate Resource committee following the resignation of councillor Alister Mackinnon.
School communities across Highland are being encouraged to remain vigilant on safety measures as a partial school return begins today. Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted to see the return of some of our pupils to education settings across Highland today.
Members of the Caithness Committee have agreed to use Town Centre Funding to invest in the CCTV infrastructure for both Wick and Thurso. £16,100 will be used to digitalise the existing aging analogue public space CCTV system in Wick town centre and connection of the new system into the council's CCTV monitoring office with £25,625 to do the same for Thurso town centre.
This item was discussed at the meeting and is available on video below. Members of the Highland Council's Caithness Committee have had the opportunity to review and comment on the two updated Active Travel Masterplans for Wick and Thurso aimed at making it safer for people to walk and cycle in and around the towns.
Letters to parents, senior-phase pupils and supportive information to school staff will be issued this week to explain the phased return to schools for some pupils on 22 February, in line with today's announcements and new guidance issued by the Scottish Government. A large amount of work and progress has already been achieved to prepare our schools for the return of P1-P3 children and Senior Phase students who will return for essential practical activities for certification, and we will continue to provide in school remote provision for our key worker and most vulnerable learners.