Additional support for island businesses

First minister says one-off payments will be available for those under level three restrictions


HOSPITALITY businesses in the Scottish islands currently under level three coronavirus restrictions are to receive additional financial support, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Speaking at the daily COVID briefing today (12th January), Sturgeon said additional payments would be made available to businesses in level three areas, including those on Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles, and Hebridean islands including Mull, Islay and Jura.

It comes after finance secretary Kate Forbes announced yesterday (11th January) that ‘top-up’ grants of £6000 or £25,000, depending on rateable value, would be made available to businesses on mainland Scotland currently in lockdown via local authorities.

Sturgeon said: “I can confirm today though that we are also making some one-off additional support available in level three areas – so this affects businesses in Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and some Hebridean islands such as Mull, Jura and Islay.

“And the reason to make more support available there, is that in these areas, although they are not under quite as tight restrictions as mainland Scotland, businesses are often just as badly affected. Hospitality for example, is just as affected because even although it might not be under the same restrictions, travel is restricted and therefore the impact is quite severe, so it is important that our compensation arrangements take account of that.

“So we will be allocating approximately £3 million to local authorities so that they are better able to support affected businesses.

“The latest set of restrictions, I know, have been incredibly tough for businesses across the economy – perhaps particularly for those in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors – and we remain committed to working with those sectors, to help them, as much as we can, get through the coming months. So I hope that the announcements made yesterday and today, reassure them of that commitment – as well as providing them with vital financial support.”

Sturgeon said any proposed tightening up of restrictions, for example regarding takeaways, is still under consideration and any changes will be outlined in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (13th January).