Minister urges retailers to tap into £80m support fund

Scottish Parliament

Independent retailers are being encouraged to apply for grants from a new £80m support fund.

In a letter to NFRN’s president in Scotland, Ferhan Ashiq, Tom Arthur MSP highlighted the Covid Economic Recovery Fund for businesses and communities which has been handed over to local government.

Arthur said: “The fund will be administered by local authorities who have full discretion on how the funding will be allocated. Your members may wish to contact their local authorities to enquire whether there may be any support available for them.”

Ashiq had recently written to Arthur to ask for the government to provide grants to improve CCTV in smaller stores in an effort to combat thefts and attacks in shops.

However, the minister confirmed that the Scottish government has no plans to offer security grants to retailers.

Ashiq said: “While it is disappointing that our request for help with boosting security systems in independent stores has been denied, it is pleasing to see that the Scottish government is at least offering some support in the form of the £80m support fund.

“I urge our members to contact their local council to apply for funding from this pot as soon as possible to help them recover from the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.”

In his reply to Ashiq, Arthur said: “I fully understand your disappointment in the decision not to support your request of the Scottish government to provide £250,000 to provide CCTV grants for independent retailers.

“As the cabinet secretary for finance said in presenting the draft 2022-23 Budget, this Budget cannot deliver the resources that all of our partners will want.

“Having already provided over £4.4bn in business support, which is almost half a billion pounds more than the funding we received from the UK Government for this purpose, there is simply no available funding within existing resources from which your request can be considered.”