Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Tuesday) welcomed the announcement of additional financial support being made available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses in the islands.
Last week, Mr McArthur secured an assurance from the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, that businesses in Orkney would be allowed to access similar support that has been made available to businesses on the Scottish mainland.
Orkney’s MSP has therefore welcomed confirmation from the Scottish Government that the one-off grant being made available will be equal to the level of support being offered to businesses in level four areas.
However, Mr McArthur warned that island businesses will require ongoing support, not simply a single payment to give them much-needed certainty going forward. Further clarity will be needed on this from the government.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“Even though Orkney is technically in a lower level than the rest of mainland Scotland, local businesses are still facing the same impacts, uncertainty and financial strain.
“It is therefore critical that island businesses are not disadvantaged when it came to accessing lifeline funding. Many are already on a knife-edge, particularly those in the tourism sector.
“In fairness, the Finance Secretary recognised the severity of the situation during my meeting with her last week and has responded with a package of support that will come as a relief to many local businesses.
“I’m pleased to see confirmation that the support will be in addition to the existing Local Authority Discretionary Fund. However, as with businesses in other parts of Scotland, it is unlikely that a one-off payment will be enough. I will be pressing this point with the Finance Secretary later this week.
“Meantime, Orkney Islands Council is working up proposals for the allocation of funding. Hopefully, this process can be completed soon so that funding makes its way to those who desperately need it as soon as possible.”