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Businesses waiting weeks while SNP hold back £1 billion

Businesses across Scotland are being left waiting weeks for financial support even though Covid restrictions have forced many of them to completely stop trading.

Despite receiving an extra £700 million from the UK Government to prop up struggling businesses, the SNP still haven’t paid out a single penny and have only announced a £40 million fund.

The Scottish Conservatives have identified nearly £1 billion of funding in total that the SNP have held back from delivering to Scottish businesses.

Earlier this week, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross proposed an automatic Scottish Business Restrictions Grant to stop businesses having to wait for support once new restrictions have been announced.

The SNP have also ignored Scottish Conservative proposals to bring in a Hardship Fund for businesses in local lockdowns and Job Security Councils for workers who lose their jobs.

Scottish Conservative economy spokesman, Maurice Golden MSP, said: “Businesses across Scotland are on their knees and the SNP Government is leaving them waiting weeks for a financial lifeline.

“Rishi Sunak has delivered an extra £700 million to support businesses and the SNP have another £270 million from the Growth Scheme and Digital Fund that they haven’t bothered to use.

“There’s nearly a billion pounds sitting in SNP coffers while struggling businesses are forced to close their doors - some of them for good.

“Yet the SNP still haven’t paid out a penny to businesses, and the tiny fund they say will be up and running sometime soon is a drop in the ocean of what companies need to survive.

“The Scottish Conservatives have outlined how we would back business with automatic grants and a Hardship Fund. Now the SNP need to show businesses the money before it’s too late.”

Notes

The Chancellor’s announcement is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/job-support-scheme-expanded-to-firms-required-to-close-due-to-covid-restrictions

The PQ answer on the Scottish growth scheme can be found here: https://parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5W-31549&ResultsPerPage=10

The Digital Growth Fund answer is attached.

The £36 million Digital Growth Fund launched in 2017. The SNP said in 2017: ‘Supported by £36 million over the next three years, the fund will provide loans to companies who wish to develop the digital skills of their staff in areas such as cyber security, data analytics and software engineering as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to improve economic productivity.’ (Scottish Government, 18 March 2017, link)

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