25 January 2021

Aberdeenshire Council pays out £1.2million in business support and announces new small business grants through Discretionary Fund

Small businesses which have not received any financial assistance to combat the impact of Covid-19 since October 2020 are being urged to apply to a new Discretionary Fund.

The Discretionary Fund is distributed by Scottish local authorities to provide additional support for businesses where they consider that necessary or justified.

Its aim is to mitigate the short-term financial challenges being experienced by businesses adversely impacted by restrictions and regulations introduced since October to control the spread of Covid-19.

It enables individual councils to direct additional financial support to specific groups, sectors or businesses within their local business communities who are experiencing immediate financial challenges as a result of current restrictions and regulations.

Aberdeenshire Council is hoping to support more than 800 small businesses with a grant of up to £2,000.

The news comes as the council announces that, to date, it has paid out 600 grants with a value of £1.2million through the Strategic Framework Business Support Fund and subsequent top-up grants, with further applications still being processed.

Businesses required by law to close due to Level 4 restrictions can apply to the Strategic Framework Business Support Fund, with Scottish Government further announcing a one-off top-up grant to eligible applicants. It is anticipated that up to 4,000 business across Aberdeenshire could be eligible.

The first batch of these payments has been made today (Monday, 25 January), however due to overwhelming demand as reflected in the grant figures, it is likely that some payments may be slightly delayed as processing continues. Regular payment runs are being scheduled to ensure the funding reaches businesses as quickly as possible.

Belinda Miller, Head of Economic Development and Protective Services, said: “These funds are a vital source of financial support for North-east businesses, many of which continue to face massive challenges on a day-to-day basis.

“We don’t want any firms to miss out on any financial support that is available to them, and we encourage businesses to visit our website and look at the criteria to see if they qualify for either of these grants.

“Please be assured that we have a dedicated team of staff working to process applications as quickly as possible and we would ask for your understanding if there is a small delay in receiving your grant.”

Applications to the Discretionary Fund will open at 9am on Monday, 25 January. Details of the fund together with other available business support can be found at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/business/business-covid-19