Coastal communities across the north of Scotland will share more than £6 million handed out from the country’s marine assets pot.
That funding, which is more than 60% of the £9.7m revenue generated by the Scottish Crown Estate, is being distributed between 26 of Scotland’s councils with coastlines.
The scope of the fund has been broadened this year after the Scottish Government and Cosla, the national council body, agreed that firms, groups and charities affected by the Coronavirus pandemic should receive direct support too.
Land reform secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on communities across the country and particularly those people and businesses living and working in our coastal areas, which are often reliant on tourism.
“That is why we have widened the remit of these funds to include direct support, where necessary, to coastal businesses and third sector organisations.
“We have also worked to allocate this year’s funding as swiftly as possible to enable local authorities to help these organisations through the economic shock caused by the pandemic, and direct resource to where it is most needed in support of a wellbeing economy.
“This year’s funding is a significant increase on the revenue which was allocated from the Scottish Crown Estate to local authority areas in the first year of this funding coming under devolved management.
“It will greatly help our coastal areas as we embark on a challenging period of recovery from the pandemic for all parts of our economy.”
The funding tally is up by more than £2m on last year’s handout, and is more than double the amount available under the old Coastal Communities Fund which it replaced two years ago.
Cosla’s environment and economy spokesman, Kirkwall East councillor Steven Heddle, added: “Cosla has worked with Marine Scotland to finalise arrangements for distribution of net revenues and welcomes their timely allocation to local authorities.
“We continue working on the longer-term review to develop an appropriate approach for the future distribution methodology.”