The Scottish Government have announced a £320 million rescue package for small businesses hit by the coronavirus.
The plan has been put in place for the 2020-21 financial year in an effort to limit the impact the outbreak has on Scotland’s economy.
Music venues and independent record stores in the country will benefit from the measures, which include a 75 percent rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from April 1 2020. A fund of £80 million will also provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors that are facing the worst economic impact from the pandemic.
There will be a 1.6 percent rates relief for all properties across Scotland, which will effectively reverse the planned below inflation uplift that was due to come into effect in April, according to the BBC. Pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will also be eligible for fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 from April 1.
Scottish finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Covid-19 will have challenging implications for businesses and the economy over the coming weeks and months. As well as following the latest health and travel advice, it’s also crucial we consider the latest economic analysis and listen carefully to what the business community is telling us.
“We know that the tourism and hospitality sectors are facing immediate pressure, which is why we have directed support to them in particular.”
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The Music Venues Trust responded to the news on Facebook, saying the measures would provide “75 percent relief to all but six MVA Scotland members, those six being the largest capacity measures.
“While MVT welcomes these moves by Scottish Government, we would note that England’s Grassroots Music Venues will be supported with 100% relief creating a market disparity at a time of extraordinary challenges. This is a positive start but much more will need to be done.”
They also called on the Welsh and Northern Irish governments to follow suit and put their own rescue packages in place, saying it was “time to take action”.
Yesterday (March 13), it was reported that the British government was preparing to ban mass gatherings, which would affect upcoming concerts and festivals that haven’t already been cancelled. The size of events the ban would apply to has yet to be confirmed as well as a start date, however it is said the ban could come in as early as next weekend (March 21).