'We now have 10 million available' - council offers one-off grants to Edinburgh businesses hit by Covid-19 impact

Edinburgh City Council has launched a tranche of one-off £4,000 grants for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eligible Edinburgh businesses which have seen a minimum 20 per cent shortfall in their income as a result of Covid-19 restrictions can apply for the grants on the council’s website from today.

The council has been awarded just over £10m in the second tranche of the Scottish Government’s Discretionary Grant funding.

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A council spokesperson said: “This fund is aimed at reaching businesses which have otherwise ‘slipped through the cracks’ in terms of funding initiatives, meaning those that have not already been eligible for other financial support from central government since October (other than the furlough scheme, the self-employed income support scheme or the newly self-employed hardship fund).

'An incredibly difficult year' - Councillor Kate Campbell
'An incredibly difficult year' - Councillor Kate Campbell

“To apply for a £4,000 grant, businesses must submit a self-declaration of their business’s income in January and February 2020 as well as January and February 2021.

“A 20 per cent decrease in the average income over the two time periods will be required in order to be eligible.

“In addition, businesses with employees that have successfully applied for Discretionary Grant funding, either in this or the earlier tranche in February, will have access to extra funding specifically to help them retain their staff.

“This will be applied through a tiered approach, depending on the number of people they employ, and for those businesses with employees on PAYE (not owners, directors or partners).”

Portobello and Craigmillar councillor and SNP convener of the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work committee, Kate Campbell, said: “This year has been incredibly difficult for businesses in our city, and we know how hard people have had to work to keep going.

“We now have £10 million available to help businesses in Edinburgh and we just want to get the funds out to them as quickly as possible.

“We want to make sure nobody’s missing their chance at accessing financial support so I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t already applied to visit the application page on our website, check the eligibility criteria, and apply today.”

Morningside councillor, and Labour vice convener of the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work committee, Mandy Watt, said: “We know businesses have been hit desperately hard in this pandemic and it’s crucial that we’re able to get this funding into the accounts of everyone who’s eligible and who hasn’t been able to access previous schemes due to not meeting the criteria.

“Please apply today and let us give you the money you’re entitled to.”

Today’s launch of online applications marks the second phase of Discretionary Fund awards in 2021.

On February 3, the council invited applications for grants from the first tranche of Discretionary Funding allocated to the city, totalling just under £2.8m.

At that stage, grants were for £2,000 and were aimed at businesses that could show a significant drop in income due to the Covid restrictions since October.

Any businesses which successfully applied for this amount earlier in the year will now have this sum topped up to £4,000 to bring them in line with recipients in this second round of funding. They do not need to reapply.

During the first tranche the criteria was initially set at a 30 per cent income loss, however this was later revised to 20 per cent following ongoing dialogue with businesses.

The council hopes more businesses will apply and enable themselves to benefit from funding in this second round in light of the revised income reduction threshold.

Applications will be open for a period of four weeks, or until all the funding has been allocated, and will be processed in the order they are received.

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