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1217 grants approved

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By Fiona Reid
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OVER £15 million in small business grants have been given out in Dumfries and Galloway.

The council are distributing the monies on behalf of the Scottish Government and this week revealed they have approved 1217 grants locally, out of 2363 applications received.

A business support helpline has also been set up by the local authority and has so far handled more than 1800 enquiries. Most of them have been in connection with grants and other sources of funding support. And it has emerged that 70 per cent of firms contacting the helpline had stopped trading.

In a report for councillors, head of economy Steve Rogers said: “The overall economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the emergency measures being taken to slow its spread will be significant, and the scale and duration of the impact on business is extremely difficult to predict.”

Mr Rogers also said that a small number of applications have been delayed pending clarifications from Scottish Government and he noted there is some technical eligibility issues, which they are providing feedback on.

Other problems reported to the council by businesses include cashflow issues arising from the timescales associated with some of the Government schemes; and gaps in the property based grant scheme. They have concluded that the latter has left 114 local businesses ineligible for support and there are another 228 firms in premises with a rateable value of over £51,000 which also cannot claim.

Meanwhile, councillors last month agreed to offer a three month rent holiday to all commercial and industrial tenants, as well as charities, in their small units. Members have now been told that this has a pricetag of £15,500.

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