The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £26.89million to 2341 Highland businesses.
The latest figures show that grants were given to 1341 businesses, to the value of £14.8m, within the past week alone.
A key focus for the dedicated Council team, established to manage the COVID-19 Business Grant scheme, has been to reduce the significant backlog of applications received.
The self-catering applications backlog has now been addressed and all applications submitted are now being processed as they are received.
Highland Council’s Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said:
“Unfortunately, over 70% of all Business Grant applications received are incomplete.
“Over 600 incomplete applications have been worked on over the past week, all information has now been secured from businesses, which will allow the applications to be processed and grants paid.
“However, this extra work has led to inevitable delays and has hampered early payment of grants.
“Please follow the guidance on the website.”
“Efforts will continue in the coming week to reduce the application backlog and ensure that application forms which are submitted and complete are processed as quickly as possible.”
The Council is keenly aware that the COVID-19 crisis has sadly seen an unprecedented rise in scams across the whole of the UK.
Highland Council asks that businesses are alert to such scams and only respond to any correspondence in relation to business grants if it is from an official Highland Council email address, which has full contact details at the footer of the email.
Please do not give out bank details to anyone over the phone or send your bank details to another email address.
Next week, on Thursday 30 April, the Council will be launching the Self-Employed Hardship Fund and inviting applications from eligible individuals.
The Council will be delivering this grant scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government and final details are currently being worked on and agreed.
The Council is looking to have an online form developed to help self-employed people to apply and secure the grant as quickly as possible.