New £80 million Covid recovery fund announced for Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the £80m Covid recovery fund. Credit: ITV Border

An £80 million Covid recovery fund has been announced to help businesses and communities in Scotland recover from the pandemic.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the money will be provided to local authorities to be distributed as they see fit.

A further £3 million will be allocated to help the seven cities in Scotland drive footfall to city centre businesses.

The First Minister said: "This £80 million Covid Economic Recovery Fund allows councils to consider the needs of local businesses, communities and households and to target support to maximise economic recovery in their areas.

"We know public health measures which were necessary to control Covid-19 have had a severe economic impact and, since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefited from more than £4.4 billion in support from the Scottish Government."

The news comes just 24 hours ahead of a new strategic framework which aims to get Scotland back to normal after the pandemic, while also preparing for any future pandemics.

She added: "Our updated strategic framework, which I will set out to Parliament tomorrow, will support resilience in communities across Scotland by outlining robust plans to prepare for possible new variants or other future emergencies, should we need to act to protect public health.

"Of course, the best way to support business sustainably is to act responsibly and to sustainably manage the risks the virus presents as we begin to live the more normal life that we all crave."

The recently announced money is the last portion of £375 million of support to deal with the Omicron variant.

Alison Evison, the president of local authority body Cosla said: "This additional funding will enable councils to play an even greater role in supporting economic and social recovery in their areas, as we move out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We know that businesses, communities and low income households have been hit hard over the last two years and local government has been at the forefront of supporting those most affected.

"The flexibility offered by this funding will enable councils to provide local support where they know the need is greatest."