The Council recognises that the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for small businesses and that some businesses have been ineligible for the existing support schemes.
Today the City of Edinburgh Council agreed the process for the award of the Discretionary Grant Fund and applications for the £2000 award will be open from this Wednesday (3 February) for eligible businesses.
Awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, and applications will be made through the council’s website.
A specially convened committee of the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work committee agreed on the recommended framework this morning.
Applications for £2,000 business grant payments will be open on the City of Edinburgh Council’s website from Wednesday 3 February after a recommended fund framework was approved on Friday (29 January), at a specially-convened Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee.
The framework will guide the Council in distributing £2,796,150 from the Scottish Government for discretionary business grant funding.
To date, the Council has provided financial support to over 15,000 Edinburgh businesses in response to COVID-19, with funding in excess of £156 million since March 2020.
This newly approved ‘Discretionary Grant Fund’ will aim to assist businesses that have been without financial support since the introduction of Brake Restrictions and latterly Strategic Framework Restrictions in October and November 2020. Businesses will receive one-off payment of £2,000. This will equate to approximately 1,400 businesses being supported.
Applications to the fund will open on a first-come, first-served basis on Wednesday 3 February 2021 at 8am.
The eligibility criteria have been designed to especially support applications from suppliers to those businesses that have been forced to close, businesses operating without rateable premises, and businesses that are deemed essential but who have lost their customers due to the restrictions imposed since October 2020.
Businesses owners can review the full eligibility criteria and mandatory evidence required now at https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/discretionaryfund
Due to the limited funding available, applications will be handled on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.
The fund will close when 1,500 applications have been received and reopen (with advance notice) once those applications have been assessed, assuming that they do not all meet the eligibility criteria.
Councillor Kate Campbell, Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener, said:
We know how important this fund is to businesses – in many instances, it will be a lifeline and as a committee, we take that responsibility very seriously. It’s a finite pot of money so we’ve worked hard to make sure we get this right – targeting the fund towards the businesses that need it the most and trying to reach as many as possible.
The fund is aimed at businesses who have been ineligible for other Scottish Government support and who’ve suffered significant losses as a result of restrictions brought in since October. We’ve consulted with partners like the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Chamber of Commerce who have been amazing at helping us to sense check our approach. They’ve shared their valuable knowledge and understanding of their members’ experiences to help us draft the best framework we think is possible in the circumstances. And we’ve had very useful consultations and input from other elected members.
Councillor Mandy Watt, Vice Convener said:
We’ve taken this report to a special committee so that we can start supporting those businesses in need as soon as possible. Sadly, there will still be small enterprises facing hardship who won’t get one of these grants. Further government discretionary grant funding for businesses, as announced last week (28 January) by the Finance Secretary, should be released as quickly as possible so we can give them the assistance that they desperately need.
From Wednesday 3 February, businesses that fit the criteria agreed today can start to apply and we hope to be able to start making the first payments within a few days of that. We must stress that businesses will be allocated funding on a first-come, first-served basis.