Now with the uncertainty around COVID-19, I know this is a very challenging time indeed for our businesses across the city centre of Aberdeen, in what has already been a difficult trading environment.
As a result of the Prime Minister's first daily briefing yesterday, we have already experienced some notable hospitality closures across the city and beyond.
Respecting the need to heed government advice and the fast moving nature of the COVID-19 situation, it is vitally important that we get the right information out there to our levy payers and in a timeous fashion. We wait, with some interest, to see the Chancellor's latest financial package of aid expected later today and how this will play through Scottish Government.
In the interim, please find below Kevin Stewart's, Minister/MSP, Scottish Parliament, response which covers my request from Friday past (13th March) to see a much needed cash injection package for businesses across Scotland
There is also a helpful link to the HMRC outlining a range of extra support and measures put in place to help businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Welcome as all this is, I am acutely aware there is still some way to go
Again respecting government advice, the Aberdeen Inspired office will remain open to our levy payers, as we understand so many of them, across the various sectors, have to do likewise.
I am happy to discuss (office 01224566291 or on my mobile 'phone outside business hours) any concerns with one and all.
A message from Kevin Stewart MSP
I am now pleased to be able to share with you that the Scottish Government has now announced a £320 million package of support for businesses over the next financial year.
The following measures were announced earlier today for 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
Kate Forbes, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, will also write to all local authorities, including Aberdeen City Council, urging them to respond positively to requests from rate payers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.
The full announcement can be found at https://news.gov.scot/news/gbp-320-million-package-of-support-for-businesses.
I would also like to once again highlight that a helpline has been opened to provide businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19. This will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm. The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660.
As with my previous email, please feel free to share this with any other businesses in the city who you think may be interested in this information.
If you feel that I could be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.