29 April
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Council Executive have approved proposals to allocate West Lothian's share of the Covid-19 Economic Recovery and Low-Income Fund awarded to local authorities.
The fund will be split, with £1.315 million given to seven projects targeting West Lothian households who need additional support and £1.3 million invested in programmes to support local businesses.
Projects to help West Lothian households under increased financial pressure include: £637,000 for an additional £80 winter clothing payment for families who receive a School Clothing Grant; £392,000 providing targeted assistance to those groups most likely to experience hardship in the winter months; and £135,000 of one-off funding for specific households who need help but do not qualify for any other type of support. 
Other projects are:
•    £50,000 for supporting young students to remain in education in partnership with West Lothian College; 
•    £44,000 for an additional £20 fuel support payment to those who receive a crisis grant; 
•    £42,000 to support people with disabilities who are being disproportionately impacted by the increased cost of energy;
•    and £14,000 to support low-income Job Seekers with a £30 payment towards digital connectivity.
Support for businesses includes: £400,000 Business Recovery fund to help viable local firms with business growth, adaptation and resilience; £250,000 for Digital Development Grants for projects to improve cyber security, enhance their online presence or develop an app; and £200,000 Graduate Placement Fund to support West Lothian businesses that will employ a graduate in areas such as cyber security, science or the environment.
Other schemes funded are: 
•    £100,000 for a Low Carbon /Energy Efficiency Grant scheme to assist businesses with overcoming barriers to becoming net zero; 
•    £100,000 to support local businesses to operate safely, as staff and customers return in larger numbers; 
•    £80,000 more for the existing Flexible Workforce Development Fund, which sees West Lothian College provide training to small and medium enterprises; 
•    £75,000 Open University funding to enable local businesses to train existing staff members with their career progression;
•    £60,000 High Growth Start Up Grants for businesses within the first 18 months of trading;
•    and £35,000 for Introduction to Business grants to assist individuals to start-up their own business.
Details of how to apply for any of the schemes which require application forms will be posted online and publicised shortly.