Borders councillors endorse £517k business support package

Tuesday September 13th 2022


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Paul Kelly

A new £517,000 ring-fenced emergency fund to support struggling businesses in the Scottish Borders has been endorsed today.

Scottish Government announced an £80m local authority Covid Economic Recovery (Lacer) fund in February this year.

Scottish Borders Council’s allocation from that pot was £1.724m, the majority of which has been allocated for the immediate support of struggling families during the cost of living crisis.

But £317k from the Government funding package has also been targeted towards businesses and another £200k has been taken from council reserves to bolster support for struggling firms.

Today the council’s decision-making Executive Committee agreed that the local authority works with South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) to distribute £517,000 of grants to “provide immediate financial support to businesses where significant jobs are at risk in the Scottish Borders.”

Committee chair Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton said: “I think it is important that we note that while we are working very closely with the South of Scotland Enterprise all the funding will be used in the Scottish Borders.”

A report to members from Jenni Craig, the council’s director of resilient communities, says: “This fund would provide immediate financial support through the provision of a grant for vulnerable businesses where a significant number of jobs – between 40 to 50 jobs in most cases – are potentially at risk due to the current financial crisis and these jobs can be retained and sustained in the region.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, SOSE worked closely with Scottish Borders Council to administer a range of Scottish Government funds to help businesses manage the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, including leading on the establishment of a Scottish Wedding Industry Fund in collaboration with Scottish Enterprise and Highland and Island Enterprise.

“The emergency fund will be ring-fenced by SOSE for investment in businesses in the Scottish Borders, and investment will be additional to any future financial support made available nationally.”

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