With 15,500 unprocessed applications pending and £324m of unclaimed funding for the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Scheme, the Scottish Government must reassure businesses about its decision to close applications early, Scottish Labour has said.

Businesses across Scotland are under unprecedented pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic and many are now reliant on government support for survival.

Despite this, the Scottish Government has instructed Local Authority Finance Directors to bring forward the closing date for applications to the 10th of July. Previously, businesses had until the end of the financial year to apply.

With a substantial number of applications still pending and £324m not yet passed on to businesses, Scottish Labour is urging the government to ensure businesses, the workers they employ, and local communities don’t miss out as a result of bringing forward the closing date.

Commenting, Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:

“ Businesses across Scotland are under unprecedented pressure at the current moment.

“We are facing an economic tsunami and it is the duty of the government to protect businesses, the workers they employ and local communities through this crisis.

“Local government has worked hard to get the money out the door. By bringing forward the closing date for applications the Scottish Government must be sure that business will not be disadvantaged and that all outstanding applications are processed.

“£324m is a substantial amount of money and it is imperative that it is fully utilised to support the wider economy. If there is no further demand from business for existing schemes the government should work with Councils to redeploy the money to critical areas such as education and the wider Scottish economy.

“We cannot let the businesses and workers of Scotland down. It is time for the Scottish Government to be bold.”

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