Aberdeen City Council will give venues a share of £2.1 million as part of a recovery grant following the coronavirus pandemic.
The council announced on Friday that over 1000 tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses in the city will share part of the grant – with each receiving up to £5,000.
The discretionary top up payment will be paid automatically in the next seven days to businesses who have been verified through previous Covid-19 support schemes.
Owner of Private Eyes, The Shack and Club Tropicana Tony Cochrane said the council were “pushing the boat out to help people” with the initiative, saying: “They should be applauded for trying to help businesses out”.
He said: “It’s to kick start for everybody. We have got venues throughout Scotland but Aberdeen City Council have been day and night with their help not just with giving you monies but also with advising you on how to get the monies and alert you when there are funds.
“They are probably the only city that we’ve found to be proactive to help, the rest we have had to go chasing.”
National data shows that 97% of businesses have returned to trading – but the council say there are several sectors, due to restrictions and consumer confidence, experiencing significantly slower recovery.
It is what is now being described as “economic long-Covid”, which means even as the health crisis eases, the challenges affecting the economy may persist.
And the businesses affected are primarily within the tourism, leisure and hospitality industries – who are the focus of the recovery grant.
Councillor Ryan Houghton, Aberdeen City Council’s City Growth and Resources Convener, said: “The tourism, leisure and hospitality sector is a vital component of the local economy in Aberdeen and so the additional £2.1m funding will go a long way to supporting the businesses in that sector.
“In turn, these businesses will have a huge role to play in our Socioeconomic Recovery Plan as we emerge from the pandemic.
“We anticipate a further boost given to the sector as more projects in our City Centre Masterplan, such as Union Terrace Gardens and Provost Skene’s House come to fruition.”
How much will businesses be given?
The payments will be tiered with licensed hospitality businesses receiving grants of between £5,000 -£3,000 and non-licensed hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses receiving grants of between £3,000- £1,500.
Previous Discretionary fund recipients categorised as “accommodation and food services” or “arts, entertainment, recreation & other services”, will receive a one-off top up to the value of £750 subject to eligibility criteria.
Who is eligible?
The council say there is no need for business to reapply to receive the funding as they are contacting eligible businesses to arrange payments into their nominated bank accounts.
A total of £6 million has now been given to Aberdeen City Council, allocated by the Scottish Government as part of the Local Authorities Discretionary Fund.
The council previously allocated over £3 million over the first two rounds of the funding, including top ups to taxi and private hire drivers.
They say any remaining funds will be disbursed through a new ‘Business Transition Fund’ to support businesses to adapt to a post Covid-19 economy and accelerate their recovery and growth.
A third round of the Discretionary Business Fund will also be open to application from August 17, prioritising tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses, including supply chain services that have received limited or no support to date.