Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for red tape to be slashed from the £30m funding package for Scottish businesses in urgent need of covid support. The party warned that councils are struggling to administer the support schemes due to the ultra-short timescale rushed through by the Scottish Government. With no time to recruit additional personnel councils are having to divert key staff from other business development support to process and check applications.
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie MSP said:
“The government was doing well in the early stages of the pandemic with a relatively simple support scheme but the latest phase is too complex. It has been bogged down by constant revisions to Scottish Government guidance.
"Councils need to get the green light to use their discretion. The Scottish Government must scrap red tape which duplicates work and ensure that businesses who successfully secured support previously don’t have to go through the same rigmarole when reapplying now.”
Local Government and Communities spokesperson Cllr Peter Barrett said:
“While the initial business rates-based schemes were much simpler to administer, the more recent ones including the recent Level 2 and current Level 3 funds are more complicated. In fact, in my council around 40% of applications are rejected as being ineligible.
"The due diligence checks required are time-consuming and require business development knowledge. All of that takes time to check and costs more that the Scottish Government is providing, meantime all other business development work has had to be put on hold.”