Surplus Covid business funding being used up

MORE than £400,000 has been distributed to local businesses so far from a pot of leftover Covid support funding designated for Shetland.

Of this nearly £180,000 has been given out through the second phase of the Scottish Government funded Covid discretionary scheme, which aims to support small businesses not eligible for other financial support.

The second phase opened at the end of November after more than £660,000 remained unused following the first round of the council-administered scheme.

In addition £147,000 in top-up payments has gone to local hotels from the surplus, while Shetland taxi drivers have benefitted to the tune of £83,000 in a bid to bring them in line with applicants to other government schemes.

There was a relatively tight deadline for applications – 13 December – and only business which could provide evidence of reduced income due to Covid-19 could request funding.

Shetland Islands Council’s economic development manager Tommy Coutts said the above figures were not the final tally as there remains some outstanding applications and payments.

The discretionary fund, which is administered by local authorities, was established by the Scottish Government earlier this year.

After the government upped the level of funding available for each council area in Scotland, Shetland was given an allocation of just over £912,000.

But in the first round just under £250,000 was given out, leaving a surplus of more than £600,000.

Coutts previously said he felt initial demand was not as high as expected, while other funds were announced between the scheme being announced and its launch.

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