Dunbartonshire Chamber Covid-19 Update

Damon Scott, Chief Executive of the Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce responded to some of the announcements and advice coming from the Scottish and UK Governments this week:

“We were encouraged by some of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s, investment announcements in the Budget this week. Particularly welcome was the £5bn for broadband connectivity and the Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, which will benefit Scottish businesses.’’

“We backed the Scottish Chambers of Commerce call for the Scottish Government to follow this lead and invest extra funds into business support and boosting the economy, which faces huge challenges in the coming weeks and months.

“We are pleased to say that, following a phone call from Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, to Scottish Chambers of Commerce over the weekend, a £320m rescue package has been announced for businesses to support them through the Covid-19 outbreak.”

The following measures have since been announced business to support business in the 2020-21 financial year:

  • 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
  • £80m fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of Covid-19
  • 6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
  • Fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020

The finance secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from ratepayers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.

The Chamber also responded positively and has been actively promoting the launch of a new helpline to supply Scottish businesses with tailored advice on coronavirus based at Scottish Enterprise's call centre in Clydebank.

Call handlers will answer questions from businesses related to Covid-19 as well as relaying the challenges faced by businesses to the Scottish government.

It comes as the UK enters the second phase of virus management.

The helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

Mr Scott continued: “We will be keeping a close watch on the advice and information coming out from the Scottish and UK Governments and update our business community accordingly. We will also continue to provide our own guidance and support including details of Chamber members that can help support Dunbartonshire businesses through what is going to be a difficult period.

“As many businesses change the way they operate to minimise impact of Covid-19, Dunbartonshire Chamber is responding by looking at ways that it can continue to support businesses including the use of technology to create more “virtual events” through streaming and other online solutions.”

Asked about businesses pushing up prices of goods in demand, Mr Scott, said: “There have been a number of cases of online traders, in particular, hiking up the prices of some of the items that may help prevent the spread of the virus as well as making spurious claims about the effectiveness of some products so consumers should be mindful of this when making purchases. The feedback I have had from a number of our members is that, whilst they have products and services that will help support businesses and individuals through a challenging time, they don’t want to be seen to be exploiting the evolving COVID-19 situation and are more concerned about their long-term reputation than making a quick buck.”

The Chamber will continue to provide updates and advice to business online at www.dunbartonshirechamber.co.uk and via social media channels - Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

About the author

Chamber admin are responsible for the day to day running of the chamber, dealing with enquiries, membership as well as organising events and meetings.