Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Business leaders call for ‘encouraging’ Moray Council recovery plan to be swiftly delivered

Council leader Graham Leadbitter says investing in town centres will be vital as the region looks to battle back from the impact of the pandemic. Picture by Jason Hedges.
Council leader Graham Leadbitter says investing in town centres will be vital as the region looks to battle back from the impact of the pandemic. Picture by Jason Hedges.

Business leaders have welcomed Moray Council’s “encouraging” multi-million-pound package, which aims to help the region’s economy recover from the financial damage caused by the pandemic.

Councillors will consider a detailed report on October 28 that seeks to agree the investment of £3.84 million over the next three years to kick-start the economy.

The council is looking to take the lead on the road to recovery with its “vital” plan, and business leaders have stressed the need for it to move “quickly”.

Moray has been hard hit by the pandemic, with 34% of the workforce furloughed – the second-highest percentage in Scotland after only the Highlands.

The proposed plans include a pop-up shop scheme in Buckie, Elgin, Forres, Keith, Lossiemouth and Speyside and grants of up to £10,000 for individual start-ups.

There is also a Town Centre Fund aimed at encouraging people to convert empty spaces to living spaces and large retail premises to smaller units.

Meanwhile, the Young Company Capital Investment Scheme will offer grants of up to £50,000 for investment in equipment and new procurement support to assist local firms in accessing public sector contracts.

Other initiatives include the development of new employment land in Forres and Speyside as well as the Kick Start scheme, which should provide up to 15 council jobs for younger people.

The plan also includes a Rural Tourism Fund to develop a network of facilities for toilets and mobile home use.

Elgin Bid’s chief executive Gemma Cruickshank believes tackling the ever-growing number of empty properties in the region’s biggest town centre is “important”.

Mrs Cruickshank said: “Elgin was in a very strong position before the pandemic in comparison to other towns and cities across Scotland and, although expected, sadly vacant properties have begun to increase.

“The majority of our vacant properties have large rateable values which very few if any, independent businesses would be able to afford.

“We have every confidence that if larger units were altered into smaller units and had rateable values below £15,000, they would be taken on by new businesses as smaller units are in demand.

“The grants also help with the conversion of empty space to living space, which is equally as important to support Elgin through the crisis.”

Sarah Medcraf, chief executive of Moray Chamber of Commerce said “innovative” ideas have to be balanced with Moray Council’s resources.

She added: “There is not a one-size-fits-all for businesses or the region. Recovery will come through a blended adaptable approach.

“It is crucial our town centres recover from this pandemic.”

Pearl Hamilton, the Federation of Small Businesses’ national councillor for Scotland added: “Whatever councillors agree next month, the focus must be on delivery and how the plan is put in place.

“If we are to ensure the survival of as many businesses as possible, the plan needs to move fast and with as little red tape as possible.”

Council leader Graham Leadbitter said: “Investing in our town centres, the hospitality sector and ensuring there are opportunities for young people here in Moray will be of vital importance.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]