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Scottish jewellers shortchanged by government relief scheme

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Watch and jewellery retailers — headquartered in Scotland and with more than one store — are being given far less support than their peers in the rest of the UK during the current Covid-19 crisis.

The problem has been discovered as jewellers have applied for assistance from the Scottish government’s £2.2 billion support fund that is designed to keep businesses afloat as they have been forced to shut during the current lock down.

In the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s business grant scheme has made funds of £25,000 available for every property forced to close during the crisis. But in Scotland the £25,000 grant is only available for affected businesses as a whole.

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In effect, a mom and pop business with one store in Scotland is given the same grant as a nationwide chain with dozens of showrooms.

“The Scottish government has been less than helpful in that it is paying out less than the UK governments advice on small business grants, In England the £25k is paid times the number of qualifying premises one trades from, only a single payment in Scotland, shocking really,” one major retailer, who asked not to be named, told WatchPro.

First minister in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon insists that by capping support at £25,000 per company, more businesses are benefiting from the £2.2 billion fund allocated by the UK Treasury.

Several major UK jewellers are headquartered in Scotland including Laings and Rox, which have six stores each, and Chisholm Hunter with 23 stores.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder