Covid-19 Recovery (Support) (Highlands and Islands)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd March 2022.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I am very happy to engage on that question. If Rhoda Grant wishes to supply me with further examples or areas where she believes that to be appropriate, I will happily consider them.

The Government designed a host of different business support schemes, some of which applied to a particular sector, such as hospitality. We tried to design them to have as broad a reach as we possibly could, but I accept that some businesses will not have been neatly caught by any of them. That is why we put in place discretionary relief funds for local authorities to do exactly as we envisage with the £80 million fund that the First Minister announced a week past Monday. It is designed to give local authorities the ability to address the issue that Ms Grant puts to me, which is that there might be businesses that have not been reached by discrete funds that could be supported by more general provision.

I will be happy to receive some further information and thoughts from Rhoda Grant on that question, but I also encourage her to point businesses in the direction of local authorities, which have been given substantial discretionary relief funds to try to address exactly the circumstances that she puts to me.