The leader of Dundee City Council and one of his SNP Westminster colleagues have admitted they have never been busier, dealing with “hundreds” of cases as people seek Covid-19-related advice.
Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie and council leader John Alexander have revealed in many cases, people are contacting them about emergency support and how to apply for it.
Mr Hosie said: “I’m dealing with hundreds of cases; access to various schemes, people who can and can’t be furloughed, do they get access to this grant or that grant. Some are having difficulties accessing the loans from the banks. All of that stuff is huge.
“We’re finding our way through this as these schemes are invented and developed, and we’re trying to do our very best.
“But there’s a lot of people out there – employees (and) employers – who are still not sure how some of these schemes work, whether they’re entitled to access them, and what that means in terms of other support, so there’s a lot of that stuff and we’re doing that on a daily basis.”
Many businesses across Dundee have relied on both national and local government support during the coronavirus pandemic as they bid to stay afloat while out of operation.
Mr Alexander has noted an upsurge in requests for guidance during the lockdown and said: “A lot of the inquiries that I’m receiving are from the business community. Either raising concerns, or looking to offer their support at this point in time.
“There’s a huge swathe of organisations and individuals who have volunteered, not only themselves, but their business assets, –so vehicles etc – to deliver products to people. So those are mostly the type of inquiries I’m getting at the moment.
“And it has changed over the last four weeks. Obviously I’m not getting what is the mainstay of a councillor’s inbox, which is issues around bins and grass-cutting – that type of thing. Those have dropped significantly.”
When asked what advice the pair would give to anyone who has concerns or questions regarding Covid-19 or any other issue, Councillor Alexander said: “I think from a local level it would be to continue to engage and listen and read the information that’s been provided.”
Mr Hosie added: “I would say; there’s lots of information available – the Scottish Government website, the UK Government website, council websites – but not everyone can find the answer to their specific question.
“So, if I was to give any advice at all, given this is fast-moving; if you’re not sure, if you’re looking for clarity, contact your MP, contact your MSP, contact one of your local councillors.”