Budget Update

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th December 2020.

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Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

I will start with the last question first. As I have said repeatedly, I recognise that those funds and grants will never replace 100 per cent of lost income. The challenge now is to try and get the economy back open, running and trading by suppressing the virus. That is our objective.

Members from across the chamber have made calls on additional support for business, so I am pleased to hear Labour welcoming today’s announcement.

Regarding the funds that have been paid, local authorities are working almost night and day to get those funds out to businesses that need them. The funding that I have announced is over and above the strategic framework of recurring grants, and some of the announcements have already started to be made. The member mentioned supply chains, and she may recall the announcement on Friday of additional support for wholesalers, who can apply for specific support where their income has been reduced.

The other funds will be available as quickly as possible. There have been many calls to replicate what the Welsh Government is doing—it is making most of its funding available in January, too. That allows the strategic framework businesses to receive funding from local authorities while we ensure that any additional designing that needs to go into the schemes, in conjunction with business organisations, can be done, and that the schemes are ready to go. January is indeed well known as one of the hardest months for hospitality.