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Moray Council pledge to deliver on business grants

By Lorna Thompson

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MORAY Council says it will start paying out business support grants from tomorrow, Thursday, April 9.

Scottish local authorities have now started to issue grants from the Coronavirus Business Support Fund after it opened for applications on March 24.

Concerns had been raised that the payments were being delayed due to the Easter break – but the council has now changed its processes and the grants will start to be paid from tomorrow.

Moray MP Douglas Ross has welcomed the reassurance after he pressed the council to deliver on its promise to pay business grants within 10 working days of applications being received.

Mr Ross said: "I’m pleased the council has now processed the first series of applications and that money will be paid into bank accounts before this week.

"I appreciate this is not an easy time for anyone and the council, like a lot of services and businesses, is operating with reduced staff numbers and the challenges that home-working can bring.

Moray Council headquarters.
Moray Council headquarters.

"However, businesses have no revenue coming in due to the measures implemented to deal with coronavirus and I know that many are relying on these grants to stay afloat.

"I initially contacted the council after constituents were concerned that payments promised – which were expected to start arriving this week – could be further delayed due to the Easter bank holiday."

He added: "A few days might not seem like much, but these grants are critical to the survival of some businesses and will enable them to start operating after the current restrictions are eased so they can contribute to a strong vibrant economy. We need these businesses to be in a position to do that.

"Many other local authorities are also starting to pay grants this week and I’m pleased that Moray Council has worked hard to keep in step with this."

A council spokesperson said: "Moray Council is treating payment of small business grants as a priority and had always intended to make the first payment of grants in this week."

It has reduced payment runs from two (on Wednesdays and Fridays) to one, which would normally be on a Friday but this week because of the bank holiday will be on Thursday, April 9.

The spokesperson added: "In response to concerns around the delay in receipt of payment which the Easter Bank holidays would cause, we have reviewed our payment methods to cut down the time the banking system will take to clear payment into grant recipients’ bank accounts, and all payments processed this week should be received by businesses on Thursday, April 9.

"We anticipate reinstating two payment runs next week for small business grants so that the 10-day target can be met and will continue to closely monitor the situation, instructing the use of faster payment methods for these priority payments if required."

Last month the Scottish Government announced a package of measures worth £2.2 billion to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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