Glasgow & West Scotland

Businesses hit by Glasgow School of Art and Victoria's fires given £5m fund

Aerial view of the fire Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Victoria's nightclub was destroyed by a fire on 22 March with the building demolished as a result

Businesses impacted by two fires in Glasgow city centre are being given access to £5m to help them stay afloat.

The fires at the Glasgow School of Art and Victoria's Nightclub have affected dozens of traders in the area.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay launched the Glasgow Fire Recovery Fund to help businesses within the security cordons at the sites.

It comes as work to fully reopen Renfield Street is set to get under way.

Work will begin on Thursday so that the cordon currently on Renfield Street is drawn back to the pedestrian precinct on Sauchiehall Street.

Glasgow City Council said this will allow traffic to move between Renfrew Street and Bath Street, and pedestrians to use pavements on both sides of Renfield Street.

The pedestrian precinct on Sauchiehall Street will remain closed to the public until a planned reopening on Friday 3 August.

The emergency funding announced by the Scottish government is for firms who can show hardship as a result of the fires.

It will be made available to Glasgow City Council for distribution to businesses within the cordons, and to those in the Sauchiehall Street area who can show hardship from the impact of the fires.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption The art school and nearby O2 building were gutted by fire on 15 June

All businesses within both the Mackintosh Building and Victoria's cordons will receive £20,000 of direct financial support, with other businesses in the area who have been impacted by a fall in footfall eligible for £10,000 of support.

Glasgow City Council will administer the funding with applications for all businesses open from 31 July. Eligibility criteria for those outside the cordon will be set out ahead of the opening of applications following discussion with local business advisers.

Following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art, the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council have already delivered 100% rates relief for affected businesses and grants of £3,000 made available to households in the cordoned off area.

The council has so far made 44 payments relating to 47 individuals in 33 properties.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The art school's Mackintosh building was undergoing restoration works after the previous fire in 2014

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: "The terrible fires at the Glasgow School of Art and Victoria's are having a significant impact on many local businesses who are either closed or unable to access their premises. Given the scale of the on-going disruption, I am making up to £5m available immediately to support those businesses affected.

"The sheer scale and lasting effects of the fires on those involved are becoming clear and it is important that businesses are given financial support to help them through this very challenging time. This funding will also help minimise the impact on the economy of the city as everyone involved works to help businesses and residents return to their premises as quickly and safely as possible.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Businesses in Sauchiehall Street have been affected by the nightclub fire

"The Scottish government has already increased our contribution to hardship funding from 75% to 95%, and made available £1,500, matched by the Lord Provost's Trust for vulnerable citizens, to residents displaced from their homes by the Mackintosh building fire and will extend that to businesses facing the same impacts as a result of the fire at Victoria's.

"We will continue to work with Glasgow City Council to ensure the emergency funding is released to all those impacted as soon as possible, and we will continue to monitor the situation and consider what further assistance might be required."

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken added: "The Victoria's and School of Art fires have had a significant adverse impact on businesses at both ends of the street. The Council has been working closely with the Scottish government to facilitate this fund, which we hope will assist those business affected by both events.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Traders say something needs to be done to help them

"This fund complements the range of actions that we have taken in the past few weeks to support businesses including the use of the Glasgow Guarantee to support employees, having dedicated business support advisers based in the Dental Hospital and the Savoy Centre, supporting businesses to relocate outside the cordon, hosting a session on insurance and legal issues with Harper McLeod, introducing zero rating for businesses in the cordons and reduced rates for businesses who can demonstrate detrimental impact.

"Additionally, I have convened a Sauchiehall Street Task Force which is working on plans for the future viability and vibrancy of the street."

Hisashi Kuboyama, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "Many businesses in Glasgow city centre are likely to be facing short-term cash flow difficulties as a consequence of the recent fires. This additional funding is hugely welcome - and should help more businesses survive this difficult period."

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement of the fund.

Its deputy chief executive Richard Muir said: "The fund will give much-needed financial assistance to businesses currently unable to trade or that are experiencing hardship due to the fires.

"A large number of businesses continue to trade on Sauchiehall Street and Glasgow chamber is working with the Sauchiehall Street Business Improvement District and partners to promote the offering on the street."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites