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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

Lloyds Banking Group pledges £2bn of new funding for small firms to help their cashflows cope with Covid-19

Lloyds Banking Group has pledged to offer £2bn of new funding for small firms, which won’t come with any arrangement fee, to help their cashflows cope with Covid-19.

 

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This will mean:

No arrangement fees for new overdrafts or overdraft limit increases, for small companies
No arrangement fees for new or increased invoice discounting and finance facilities
In certain circumstances, repayment holidays to be provided, to those businesses impacted the most
These measures should help fundamentally healthy firms cope with a short-term hit, if the UK imposes significant quarantine measures in the weeks and months ahead.

David Oldfield, group director for commercial banking at Lloyds Banking Group said: “We fully understand how worrying these times are for business owners, concerned not only about their and their own family’s health and wellbeing, but also of their employees. They are also worried what the outbreak might mean for their business and with no knowledge of how or when they might be affected.

As our customers face into such uncertainty, we want to provide reassurance to them that, if needed, we are here to help with additional working capital to get them through temporary interruptions to their business and to their cashflow.

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CORONAVIRUS SUPPORT AND INFORMATION

We've put all the latest CoronaVirus information in one place for you. 

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Click below to get the latest advice from the UK  & Scottish Governments, where to access finance, information on travel advice and information for employees and employers.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE CORONAVIRUS HUB

SCC welcomes £320 package of support for businesses in Scotland

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s announcement of an initial package of support to help businesses being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

 

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“As we have seen the number of cases of Covid-19 rise in Scotland, we have heard calls from increasing numbers of businesses across the country for measures that will support them through these challenging times. Issues over cancelled bookings and orders, cashflow as well as disruption to supply chains and workforces are having severe impacts for businesses right across Scotland.

“Today, the Scottish Government have outlined an initial number of measures that will be welcomed by businesses - particularly in the most affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism - following on from the measures introduced in the UK Budget earlier this week.

“The Support Grant for small businesses across Scotland is a positive intervention. The Scottish Government has allocated £80 million to provide grants of a minimum of £3,000 or more for businesses in sectors most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Our Chamber Network stands ready to work with the Government to ensure that the grant is as accessible as possible to all that need it. This is a useful tool that might need further expansion if the situation worsens.

“We welcome the extension of business rates reliefs on properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with rateable values of up to £69,000 – who will receive 75% worth of reliefs. This will be of particular benefit, as this enables significantly more firms in the most affected sectors to receive much needed rates relief. In light of the massive impact that COVID-19 is having upon these sectors, we would call upon the Scottish Government to consider reviewing how the business rates system can provide further support for firms in these sectors.

“Whilst these sectors are experiencing major reductions in bookings and orders, other sectors are also experiencing similar issues and there needs to be further consideration for support measures that can be tailored to the differing challenges and needs of all sectors and industries that provide jobs and growth in our economy.

“This is a positive initial response by the Scottish Government, but the situation needs to be reviewed on a daily basis to identify what additional support is required, particularly around how business can retain employees and the cost of businesses changing their operating models, for example to flexible working practises.

“We stand ready to work with our Chamber Network, our members and the Scottish & UK Governments to discuss and evaluate what further support will be required as the virus continues to develop and causes more economic pain for our businesses.’’

£320 million package of support for businesses

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland have been announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.
 
The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:
 
• a 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
• an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
• 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
• a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020
 
The Finance Secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from rate payers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.
 
KateForbesMSP-May2016.jpgMs Forbes said:
 
“COVID-19 will have challenging implications for businesses and the economy over the coming weeks and months.
 
“As well as following the latest health and travel advice, it’s also crucial we consider the latest economic analysis and listen carefully to what the business community is telling us. We know that the tourism and hospitality sectors are facing immediate pressure, which is why we have directed support to them in particular.
 
“All rate-payers will benefit from a relief that effectively reverses the planned inflationary uplift in the poundage that was due to come into effect in April.
 
“The measures I’m announcing today will provide £320 million of assistance to Scottish business and ensures that all Non Domestic Rate consequentials we expect to receive from the UK Government associated with the COVID-19 outbreak will be used to provide Scottish business with support through what is likely to be a difficult time. We will also be making the case to the UK Government that, because of the larger number of small businesses in Scotland, we need additional resources to be able to provide further support.

“Businesses receiving support are being encouraged to operate with fair work principles including supporting staff to self-isolate when they need to and if they have caring responsibilities and to consider keeping staff in employment where at all possible.

“We continue to work closely with our partners to identify what further support is needed and I’d encourage any businesses with questions relating to the impact of COVID-19 to contact the helpline we launched this week.”

Mundell Comments on Budget

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell has welcomed today's Budget announcements made by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Mundell said: "This was an excellent Budget which will be good for the country at this challenging time.

"One important measure for my large rural constituency will be the extension of the freeze on fuel duty for a 10th year. That will be welcomed by almost everybody locally and have a positive impact on businesses, including shops.

"I fully support the massive £30 billion support package to steer the country through the challenges of the current corona Virus outbreak.  

"Some measures being taken will be UK-wide but I urge the Scottish Government to use the extra funds they receive wisely in the devolved areas to fully support businesses and jobs during this difficult period.

"I've highlighted the difficulties the whisky industry is facing and I'm glad the Chancellor has responded. The freeze in spirit duty will be widely welcomed in my constituency and nationally.

"The Scottish Government will receive £640 million extra from this Budget through the Barnet Formula.  I call on SNP Ministers at Holyrood to match the UK Government's ambition on roads and rail investment, particularly locally with urgent improvements to the A75, A76 and A7 trunk roads for which they are responsible."