A new fund designed to support the events industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has gone live, and South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is urging those working in the sector to apply.

The Events Industry Support Fund provides financial help for businesses in the events industry who have been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The £6 million fund will be administered via VisitScotland and has been developed in consultation with the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG), it opened for applications on Monday and is live until 14 September.

Successful applicants will be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £10,000.

However, the funding will be allocated on a first come first served basis, which Colin Smyth believes could cause serious problems for those trying to apply for the fund in the south of Scotland.

The local MSP said: “The Events Industry Support Fund opened for applications on Monday and will be live until 14 September. I would urge anyone in the south of Scotland to consider applying. It is especially important for these businesses as the fund is designed for those who have not been eligible for any other scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, I am very concerned it is being administered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Thousands of people across the country will be eligible and it’s very likely the fund will quickly become over-subscribed, which could mean many lose out on the chance of cash which could make a huge difference to their lives.

“I have spoken to a number of people who are extremely worried about whether this scheme will be able to deliver for the events industry and I will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“The arts and entertainment sector are facing a triple whammy of a lack of support, being behind other sectors when it comes to easing from lockdown and tougher social distancing than pubs and restaurants. While this new fund is welcome, unless the UK and Scottish Governments work fast we will inevitably see more job losses.”

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