Scottish Borders discretionary support fund opened for applications last week and South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has urged local businesses who are eligible to apply.

The fund is designed to support small businesses who have not been able to access funding support from other Covid-19 grants since October 2020. The fund will close to new applications on 28 February.

To be eligible for a one-off grant through the Borders Discretionary Fund for Business, applicants must meet the following criteria:

·         be a small or micro-businesses with less than 50 employees or are registered as self-employed

·         be based in, or operate within, the Scottish Borders area

·         not have received any other COVID-19 related business support since October 2020

·         be able to evidence a demonstrable current impact on their business from COVID-19

Colin Smyth said: “I would urge any business who has previously missed out on Covid-19 funding in the Scottish Borders to check and see if they are eligible for money from the discretionary fund which opened last week.

“There are many people in our region who will be eligible, and it is very important that they don’t miss out.

“Since the start of the pandemic I have been contacted by dozens of businesses who have fallen through the gaps in the various grant schemes that have been provided by the UK and Scottish Governments and many have lost out locally.

“This fund will hopefully provide a lifeline for some businesses who are struggling. However, as the pandemic continues, we will need more support from both the UK and Scottish Governments to ensure that businesses can survive.

“Covid-19 started as a health crisis but it is now also a very serious economic crisis too. With restrictions set to last for the foreseeable future, the last thing we want is for more businesses to fold, putting more hardworking people in our region out of work.”

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