5,000 Edinburgh businesses apply for coronavirus grants

Council has 100 officials processing applications
Adam McVey says good progress is being made on processing the applicationsAdam McVey says good progress is being made on processing the applications
Adam McVey says good progress is being made on processing the applications

ALMOST 5,000 businesses in the Capital have applied for a coronavirus business support grant since the scheme opened at the end of March.

And the city council has set up a dedicated team of 100 officials from across council departments, who are processing hundreds of applications every working day.

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The council said almost half the applications have already been assessed and Government grants totalling £20 million have been processed and paid to business owners.

The grants are intended to protect jobs and help premises stay in business during the lockdown.

The council added organisations which had applied for support but were yet to hear back would be updated as soon as possible, with all current applications expected to be assessed by the end of the month.

Council leader Adam McVey said: "We know how crucial these grants are, particularly to Edinburgh’s small businesses, and that’s reflected in the thousands of business owners who have already applied for support.

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"We are working hard to help our communities and our businesses through this crisis. A 100-strong team is working almost round the clock on a high number of detailed requests, in many cases providing ongoing correspondence to make sure that support is provided as quickly as possible.

"We're making good progress, particularly considering the high volume of enquiries we’re getting in, but I appreciate this is an extremely difficult time for businesses. I want to thank each and every one for their patience and reassure those who are still waiting that they should receive confirmation this week or by the end of this month in a tiny number of cases where further information is required."

Depute council leader Cammy Day added: "We have staff working tirelessly through thousands of applications, making sure those who are entitled to business support receive the help they need. They've been working really hard including over weekends to pay out around £20m in grants so far. We hope and expect many more businesses to follow suit and apply for help, and I want to thank everyone for bearing with us. We understand what a challenging time this is for our city’s small businesses and we’re doing all that we can to make this process quicker."

The council said it was working to finalise more than 75 per cent of grant applications by the end of the week, with the remainder to be worked through by the end of the month. Businesses yet to seek support are being encouraged to apply online.