Orkney Islands Council has established an initial £5m fund to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund will be set up to provide grants and loans and comes primarily from the Strategic Reserve Fund and supplemented by a mix of Crown Estate funding and the Council's Renewable, Redevelopment and Regeneration Fund.
Grants from the fund will initially be restricted to:
Details of the cash flow loan scheme are being worked on and will be made available in due course.
Applications to the fund will be administered by the Economic Development Service through Business Gateway, with the grants aimed specifically at businesses that are currently ineligible for Government assistance schemes such as the Government Coronavirus Business Support grant.
Orkney Islands Council is also currently administering the Coronavirus Business Support grant scheme locally on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government has estimated that there are 990 businesses in Orkney that are eligible for a Coronavirus Business Support grant with total expected awards of £10,590,000. In addition, the Scottish Government has announced further funding to help multi-site businesses, self-employed and viable micro and small medium enterprises currently in distress and not previously eligible for funding support.
To date the Council has processed or paid a total of 298 Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support applications amounting to a total of £3,490,000 – and are urging other businesses who think they may be eligible for the fund to come forward.
Councillor Graham Sinclair, Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “The impact of the coronavirus on our local economy is immense. As a Council, we need to do what we can to ensure that as many businesses as possible survive – but we also have to be honest with ourselves that some may not. The establishment of this fund at Full Council today is the starting point of Council support, there may be more to come. We will continue to monitor the situation and the ongoing impact of Coronavirus and work with the business community to establish a long-term economic recovery plan.”
Further details of support available locally is available on the Council website.