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Council / Covid funding to help low income families and businesses

Extra funding will also go to the busy Shetland Citizens Advice Bureau

COUNCILLORS have approved distributing nearly £600,000 from a national fund which is aimed at supporting the recovery from the Covid pandemic.

The fund is worth £80 million nationally and it is designed to “empower local authorities to utilise funding to support local economic recovery and cost of living impacts on low-income households”.

More than £200,000 of Shetland Islands Council’s allocation will be used as direct funding for low income families over the next 18 months.

It will enable the government’s free school meal holiday support and Scottish child payments be extended.

Funding of around £200,000 will also go towards the creation of a business transition fund, aimed at supporting businesses to adapt to new ways of working or make investment to remain competitive.

It will offer grants of between £1,000 and £10,000, or 75 per cent of project costs. The fund may launch in late July.

Councillors also agreed to direct £125,000 to the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau as the demand on the organisation grows.

A £40,000 funding boost is also in line for the early intervention Anchor Project, while £5,000 will go towards scaling up work on a scheme which supports low income families to cook and eat fresh.

At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday members were happy to approve the allocations.

However Lerwick South councillor Neil Pearson said he felt the “government has not gone far enough”.

He said there are more and more working people who are falling into poverty in the cost of living crisis, but are above the threshold for support – with convener Andrea Manson in agreement.

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