17 Feb 2021
Regarding the non-domestic rates relief extension, Stuart Patrick, Glasgow Chamber's Chief Executive said:
"This is a victory for the work we have done to secure financial support for the sectors most affected by the government’s restrictions. We listened to our members and along with our colleagues across the Chambers network we raised the need for extended rates relief at every opportunity. This is nevertheless just one step towards ensuring that our members survive until the crisis is over."
Non-Domestic Rates Relief Extended
Retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined from the Scottish Government.
It is one of a series of measures proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.
The move builds on the three month rates relief extension announced in the Scottish Budget and will be taken forward. This is according to the Scottish Government that they receive the funding already assumed from the UK Budget on 3 March, and that requisite funds are available to maintain existing support into 2021-22.
Newspapers will also continue to benefit from 100% relief for a further 12 months, while charitable rates relief will not be removed from mainstream independent schools until 1 April 2022 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Other extra spending in 2021-22 arising from the latest consequentials includes:
Separately, local authorities will receive an extra £275 million in the current financial year to address COVID-19 pressures, while a further £40 million is being made available to support the safe reopening of schools.
More Business Support Now Live
Two funds to support people whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic are now open to applications.
Grants will be available for mobile and home-based close contact service businesses – such as make-up artists and hairdressers – as well as registered driving instructors.
The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, which paid out more than £11 million in vital support last year, will also re-open for a second round.
Both funds will provide £4,000 grants to successful applicants. Full eligibility details are available online.
Roadmap Out of Lockdown to be Published Next Week
The phased return of pupils to classrooms in Scotland will begin on Monday, the first minister has confirmed.
Nicola Sturgeon revealed the news in a statement to the Scottish parliament, as she said the country's lockdown would continue until "at least" the beginning of March and "possibly for a further period beyond that".
She told MSPs the shutdown was working - with fewer COVID-19 patients in hospital and intensive care - but cautioned that "even a slight" easing of restrictions could see cases "start rising rapidly again".
And Ms Sturgeon said that a return to "100% normality" would not be possible in the near future.
She told the Scottish parliament that some measures may have to remain in force, with "trade offs" required to ease some restrictions.
She warned that "if we open up too quickly to meet arbitrary dates, we risk setting progress back".
She said the government hopes to produce a new roadmap for easing lockdown next week, with more emphasis on data rather than timings for relaxing measures.
Giving MSPs an example of what it might say, Ms Sturgeon said it would likely advise Scots not to book holidays over Easter, but added that "staycations" in the summer may be permitted depending on the data.
Coach Operators Fund (now live)
This fund is now open for applications. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 23 February 2021.
The £10 million fund is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by VisitScotland, with development, input and criteria setting from the Confederation of Passenger Transport. VisitScotland is the awarding body for this fund.
This is a one-off fund to help support coach tour operators while restrictions on travel are still in place, and to help prepare for recommencing operations when restrictions are lifted.
This fund will not support the cost of operating public bus services, or businesses whose income is mainly derived from non-tourism sources such as:
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Covid-19 Hub
The Covid-19 Hub on Glasgow Chamber’s website has been created to enable businesses to find useful information quickly.
The Hub is updated regularly and includes information on business support, access to finance, public information and travel advice.