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Covid-19 – islands fund now open

Covid-19 – islands fund now open
01 February 2021

Note - this fund has now closed.

Funding is now available from a new Scottish Government support scheme for eligible islands-based businesses.

The Government’s Island Equivalent Payment Fund will provide the equivalent of Level 4 support to eligible businesses in Orkney and other island areas.

This is in recognition that although the islands are currently in Level 3, local businesses have faced many of the severe difficulties experienced by those in Level 4 areas of Scotland – but without the financial support available in Level 4 areas through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

The Island Equivalent Payment Fund is aimed at addressing this. Locally, the fund will be administered by Orkney Islands Council.

Retrospective payments of £2,000 or £3,000 (depending on rateable value) will be available covering the period from 26 December 2020 to 24 January 2021. Further payments may be made if current Covid-19 restrictions continue over the weeks ahead.

The first crucial step is to check if your business is eligible. You should go to the go to the eligibility page and check if your type of enterprise is included on the Level 4 list of eligible businesses.

Eligibility for this funding is determined by the Scottish Government and local authorities have no discretion to amend the list of eligible businesses.

Some Orkney business have previously applied for support from the Strategic Framework Business Fund. These businesses do not need to apply again. Whether or not you were successful – your original applications will be checked again to see if you qualify for a payment from the Island Equivalent Payment Fund.

Local enterprises that have not previously applied should, after first checking your eligibility, make an application here www.orkney.gov.uk/CV-Biz

Guidance and an online application form can be found in the ‘support’ section – look for Scottish Government Island Equivalent Payment.

We expect to receive many applications for this support. We would greatly appreciate your patience and co-operation while a dedicated team check and respond to all the applications they receive.

Given the likely demand, it will take us time to work through all the applications and we will not be able to consider every application within a few days of receipt. Great care will be taken to ensure you receive all the support you are eligible for.

For eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, this will include a one-off top up payment of:

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses (rateable value of £51,001 or higher).
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses (rateable value of £51,000 or less).
  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses (rateable value of £51,001 or higher).
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses (rateable value of £51,000 or less).

You do not need to apply for a top-up payment. This will be assessed when you apply for funding from the Island Equivalent Payment Fund – or from your original application if you previously applied for support from the Strategic Framework Business Fund. Top up payments and changes to ongoing payments will be made automatically. For any queries, please contact economic.development@orkney.gov.uk

Provided they are registered for non-domestic rates, self-catering properties, guest houses and B&Bs qualify for Island Equivalent Payment Fund support. But the Scottish Government has advised that the hospitality top-up will not be payable to businesses of this kind, which will be further supported by targeted schemes currently being developed by the Government and sector representatives.

Since April last year, the Council has already administered and delivered around £10 million of support to local businesses, including around £2 million from OIC’s own funds.

Island Equivalent Payment Fund payments will be:

  • £2,000 for eligible businesses with a rateable value of up to and including £51,000.
  • £3,000 for eligible businesses with a rateable value of £51,001 and above.

 

Frequently asked questions:

Full eligibility details and guidance are available on the Scottish Government website  - remember to look at eligibility criteria for Level 4.

Don’t hesitate to email economic.develoment@orkney.gov.uk with any further questions.


I have previously received a grant from the Council, do I need to apply again?

Yes, unless you submitted an application to the Strategic Framework Business Fund between 2 November 2020 and 31 January 2021 – if you did you should have heard from an officer about this, so if you haven’t please email economic.development@orkney.gov.uk.


Is there a closing date?

The closing date for the one-off Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Top-Up Grant element of the fund is the 22 February 2021. The closing date for the four-weekly grant element of the fund is 22 March 2021. See link below for the guidance.


My business is open and trading, so I can’t be eligible for a closure grant, can I?

Yes, you may be, if you meet the other eligibility criteria too. The way to think about it is, even though Orkney is in Level 3 restrictions, pretend for a moment you are in Level 4 - and if your business is listed as an eligible business type under Level 4 you’re eligible to apply for Islands Equivalent Payment support (if you meet the other eligibility criteria too). See link below for the guidance.


I pay council tax for my business, am I eligible?

Not for this fund, which is for businesses registered for non-domestic rates. For information on other grants available from the Council visit www.orkney.gov.uk/CV-Biz (click on the Support button) or visit www.findbusinesssupport.gov.scot for other grants available.


I’m registered for non-domestic rates, but with rates relief I don’t pay anything – am I eligible?

Yes, you are, if you meet the other eligibility criteria too. See link below for the guidance.


Last year I didn’t qualify for support for my self-catering because of the occupancy and primary earnings criteria. Does that mean I don’t qualify for this fund either?

The criteria for this fund is different, so if you have a self-catering property that is registered for non-domestic rates you should check whether you meet the other eligibility criteria to see if you can apply. See link below for the guidance.


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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS