Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Covid-19 Financial Support to Business

Consider report by Executive Director, Corporate Improvement & Economy, providing information on the financial support distributed to businesses by Scottish Borders Council as part of Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Support Scheme (copy attached).




Present:- Mr G. Clark (Federation of Small Businesses)


1.1       There had been circulated copies of a report by the Executive Director, Corporate Improvement & Economy, providing information on the financial support distributed to businesses by Scottish Borders Council as part of Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Support Schemes. The support funds that were administered by Scottish Borders Council on behalf of Scottish Government were the:

·         Small Business Grant Fund (three phases);

·         Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund;

·         Newly Self Employed Hardship Fund; and

·         Bed & Breakfast Hardship Fund (B&BHF).

The administration, management and delivery of the business support grant process was primarily undertaken by the Council’s Business Gateway, Economic Development and Customer Services Sections, with a large number of staff from a range of other Council Departments involved in assisting in the process of awarding the grants. At the height of the grant delivery process there was a team of approximately 60 officers involved in the administration and payment of the grant funding. The report provided details of the number of applications within each category with the number of grants awarded, grants declined and total value of funding. In total approximately 3900 applications had been received and approximately 3300 grant awards were made.  The total value of funding distributed through the four funding streams was approximately £33,800,000.  All four support funds were now closed and an appeals panel which was set up to reconsider a number of declined applications met for the last time on Tuesday 1 September. 

1.2       The Scottish Government also introduced two new Business Rates Reliefs from 1 April 2020. All non-domestic properties had been awarded a 1.6% rates relief for the billing year 2020/21. In addition to this, those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry would receive 100% rates relief for the billing year 2020/21.  To date 2440 properties had been awarded this relief.  In addition to the grant support funds administered by Scottish Borders Council, discretionary funding providing additional support for businesses in the South of Scotland was administered by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) through two grant funding streams. These two funding schemes were the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Enterprise Hardship Fund and the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.The funds proved useful in filling gaps and supporting the additional funding requirements of businesses throughout the South of Scotland.  SOSE worked with Scottish Borders Council to help determine which businesses had already received funding from the other support schemes offered by Scottish Government. SOSE issued grant offers from these Funds to 137 companies in the Scottish Borders totalling just over £6m.


1.3       Members recognised the massive amount of work carried out by the Council in distributing the grant support funding to businesses and thanked all the officers involved in this huge effort.  They welcomed the relatively high proportion of grants awarded in comparison with other areas. Mr Garry Clark also expressed his gratitude to the Council on behalf of small businesses in the Borders and referred in particular to assistance from the Business Gateway teams.  In response to a question about underspend of the Council’s allocation of grant funding, the Executive Director Finance & Regulatory advised that discussions were ongoing between COSLA and Scottish Government about a range of support measures and he was not aware of any plan to access the underspend.



AGREED to recognise the Council’s efforts in distributing the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Grant Support Funding to businesses throughout the Scottish Borders.


Supporting documents:



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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