Dumfries and Galloway Council says it is doing all it can to support businesses

Dumfries and Galloway Council says it is doing all that it can to support local businesses through the ongoing pandemic.

Members the Economy and Resources Committee this week received a report on the measures the council are taking to help businesses affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

Following the initial lockdown a series of financial supports and grants were made available from both Governments, providing both general and specific help for businesses and sectors.

Dumfries and Galloway was placed in Tier 2 within the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework from November 2 to December 11, at which point it was moved to Tier 1.

The number of businesses who were paid framework funding during this time was 285, receiving a total of £889,900.

Following a surge in cases and fears over a new variant of the coronavirus all regions of mainland Scotland have now moved to Tier 4 restrictions.

As a result the number of additional applications received, as of January 13, is now at 1500, in addition to the 326 who were already within the framework in December.

Council officers expect this to increase and are now focussed on processing the new applications with a view to ensuring payments are made.

Dumfries and Galloway’s share of the Covid-19 Local Authority Discretionary Fund is £855,084.

Each local authority is required to undertake their own assessment of need and develop application processes accordingly.

The fund is intended to enable individual local authorities to direct additional financial support to specific groups, sectors or businesses, particularly small and microbusinesses, as well as self-employed people, who have been excluded from financial support since October.

As part of the council response to the first lockdown back in March, tenants of council owned industrial and commercial units received a rent holiday, which was subsequently extended based on individual business circumstances.

Members of the committee have now agreed for a further period of three months subject to consideration of business need, at a total maximum cost of £60,000.

Committee chairman Rob Davidson said: “We are doing all that we can to help local businesses, as quickly as we can.

“The range and focus of grants available has changed since our initial lockdown period, reflecting a shift from immediate widespread assistance during the national lockdown, to more specific support linked to localised and regional restrictions or closures.

“It is vital this help reaches businesses as soon as practicable and through a process which is easy to apply for.

“Emerging from this pandemic will not be a quick process for any of us, but we will continue to help and support our local economy as much as we can.“