Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Friday) backed calls for the Scottish Government to look at more ways to support local media during the Coronavirus outbreak.
HOME BASED BUSINESSES
Several constituents who have home-based businesses have recently alerted me to the fact that they cannot apply for grant support from the Business Support Scheme since they pay domestic rates. Businesses are currently required to be based in non-domestic premises to be able eligible to apply
I have written to both the Finance Secretary and Orkney Islands Council to highlight the impact that this requirement will have on many local businesses in Orkney and to urge them to look at how criteria could be made more flexible to widen access to support.
Once I have received responses, I will share them with those who have contacted me already on this issue. If you haven’t already done so, but would like to be kept updated, please let me know. I will also try to circulate the information more widely
ICU capacity and ventilators
As you know, we set out to double our ICU capacity and to free up 3000 beds across our hospital estate. We continue to work with suppliers, and the Scottish Critical Care Network, on the supply and early delivery of additional ventilator capacity. We have ordered this equipment and additional medical devices from a range of manufacturers and continue regular contact with them to monitor delivery timelines and press for these to be met and where possible brought forward. The first of these orders has arrived and delivery will continue over the coming weeks. Alongside this equipment delivery we are carrying out the relevant training and preparation with staff.
In addition, we are participating in a joint procurement with the health services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for further ventilators. To bridge any gaps between the estimated increase in case numbers indicated by the iterative modelling of the virus spread and the delivery timelines, rapid and effective work has been undertaken with the engagement of the Scottish Critical Care Delivery Group and the Scottish Intensive Care Society, medical physicists and clinicians to increase ventilation capacity through repurposing Anaesthetic Machines. That means that by the end of this week we will have trebled our ventilation capacity to just over 560.
This, together with our own orders, the active monitoring of delivery timelines and our 4 nation work on ventilator and other medical equipment supply, means we are moving as swiftly as we can to quadruple our ICU capacity across the country.
Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has supported calls for the Scottish Government to review the eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Business Support Fund so that businesses operating from home can also access grant support.
Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed new measures that will provide additional capacity for airlifting island patients with Covid-19 to receive immediate healthcare.
Self-catering accommodation and caravans will be eligible for both the one-off £10,000 grant for small businesses and the one-off £25,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors where this is the primary source of earned income and the property is let for 140 days or more.
However, The Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC) and many self-caterers across Orkney have contacted me over the last few days to raise concerns around the requirement that those who apply must demonstrate that their self-catering business is their primary source of income.
This obviously continues to exclude a significant number of self-caterers from accessing much needed support and is not consistent with the approach being taken elsewhere in the UK.
I have therefore written again to the Finance Secretary urging her to undertake a further review of the scheme and come forward with other amendments so that all self-catering businesses can be included. I have also highlighted the suggestions made by the ASSC to relax the eligibility criteria and asked that this proposal be seriously considered.
For those who have already contacted me on this issue, I will of course keep you updated with any response I receive in due course.
Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Tuesday) urged Ministers to further review eligibility criteria for self-catering businesses seeking to access the Coronavirus Business Support Fund.
Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to include self-catering properties in the list of businesses eligible to apply for financial support through the Coronavirus Business Support Scheme.
Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) sought assurances from both NHS Orkney and Ministers that frontline health and care staff in Orkney will have access to the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.
Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Wednesday) called on Ministers to revaluate the criteria for the Coronavirus Business Support Fund to allow self-catering businesses to be included in the list of businesses that can claim support.