Government funding will be allocated to identified priority areas to help build on the council's existing economic support efforts.

East Lothian Council today heard further details of the local allocation of just over £1.5million for the area as part of the Scottish Government’s Local Authority COVID Economic Recovery Fund, announced in February this year.

Councillors also heard how East Lothian Council’s Business Recovery Investment Fund – identified through the 2021-22 Council Budget – had been allocated, covering a range of support for business and tourism projects.

The funding for 2022/23 will be allocated flexibly by East Lothian Council officers based on key areas identified for targeted support. The £1.517 million allocation will be split between supporting economic growth and supporting households on low incomes.

Councillors agreed that the economic recovery funding be used for:

  • £10k for additional Business Gateway Expert Help Consultancy, providing tailored business advice and support via expert consultants on issues such as import/export, financial planning, HR management, fair work practices, and transition towards net-zero
  • £100k for Small Business Project Implementation Grants
  • £100k for Business Start-up Grants
  • £220k for Business Growth Grants
  • £80k for East Lothian Signature Event Grants
  • £248,500 on Employability Support, providing grant funding to local businesses to recruit low income East Lothian residents and work with key sectors to improve skills pathways and address local shortages

This means that a total of £758,500 will be spent on economic recovery with the remainder of the funding used to support low income households. More detail on how the funds will be accessed and distributed will be publicised in due course.

Last year, the council allocated £600k to support business recovery and resilience through its Business Recovery Investment Fund.

Councillors heard that this funding had been allocated to projects including grants to the East Lothian Tourism Attractions Group and Golf Tourism Alliance; funding to renew the Visit East Lothian website and innovative app to help support and manage the large number of visitors to East Lothian’s coast (due to launch around Easter); expansion of the East Lothian Gift Card scheme; funding to various projects to support town centre businesses; expert support and grants for businesses; support for the rural economy including a “FEAST Lothian” food and drink event at Gosford in December 2021 , vocational hospitality training; and a special “Inspire” publication to encourage local shopping and to promote local businesses and attractions.

Some of last year’s funding will be carried forward through 2022/23 for projects that are still ongoing.

Published: Tuesday, 29th March 2022