We will work to update this page as new schemes and reliefs are announced, and once our team has reviewed the detail to understand what it means for you.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a massive impact on start-up and early stage growth businesses. In response, the UK Government has implemented a number of schemes to help and support businesses.

Below is a breakdown of some of these schemes with information on how you can apply for them.   

We will work to update this page as new schemes and reliefs are announced, and once our team has reviewed the detail to understand what it means for you.

Self-Employed Hardship Fund 

The Self-Employed Hardship Fund from the Scottish Government is being administered by local authorities across the country, providing support to those who are recently self-employed, suffering financial hardship and are unable to access other grant support schemes.

These grants make up part of a £100million Scottish Government fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced on 21 April 2020. A new grant hardship fund is now open for applications from individuals who recently became self-employed.

Open to those who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and who were actively trading up to March 2020. Candidates are required to meet various criteria and it is anticipated successful applicants will receive the funds within 10 days of applying.

Successful applicants may continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work while applying for or in receipt of grants.

The application form for your local area, together with full details of the required criteria, can be found here

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Applications now open 

This scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to apply for loans of up to £50,000

Small and medium sized businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 on loan terms of up to six years, with no fees or interest to pay during the first 12 months.

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020. 

Eligibility extension: Grant funded further education establishments are now eligible to apply.

Eligibility Change: Businesses that were undertakings in difficulty on 31 December 2019 can now apply to this scheme

Find out more here

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - Updated 

The scheme enables self-employed workers to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.

The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. This will be available for three months, however timescale will be extended if necessary. Individuals can claim these grants and continue to do business.

The guidance for this scheme has been updated significantly. Find out more here

Three Month Extension

Announced 25 March, businesses can apply for a three-month extension on filing their accounts. The joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of COVID-19.

All companies who apply for an extension as a result of COVID-19 will automatically be granted the extension without needing to provide evidence.

Further information can be found here.

Business Support Fund

On 24 March, the £1billion Business Support Fund opened for business across Scotland. Designed to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, its aim is to protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery.

Two types of grants are available:

  • a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses
  • a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

Business owners can apply through their local council for help:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - Updated 

Further education establishments are now eligible for this scheme

Set up to support SMEs who need access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance to pay their rent, suppliers or purchase stock, will be able to access a government-backed loan.

Delivered through commercial lenders and backed by government-owned British Business Bank, the government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. 

Businesses can access the first six months of finance interest free, with the government covering these interest payments.

Further information and eligibility can be found on the British Business Bank website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Updated 

Eligible for all UK businesses.

The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme has been set up for employers to access support to continue to cover the part of salary cost for any employee that would otherwise face redundancy as a result of the crisis.

HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of the cost of workers’ wages, capped at £2,500 a month.

The scheme will open before the end of April, will run for three months (timescale to be kept under review) and will backdated to 1 March 2020.

When making a claim, employers should ensure that they are only providing bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted.

Guidance around making a claim for wages has been updated with information about how to claim for 100 or more furloughed employees and the type of information that should be provided in order to reduce potential delays to payments being made.

Business Rates

Supporting non-domestic properties, including businesses, to deal with impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to business rates for 2020-21.

Extra rate reliefs, as well as a one-off grant for some businesses, have been introduced. These will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. 

Further details can be found here.

VAT & Income Tax Payments Deferred

HMRC announced it will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for three months.

VAT: the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 and this is eligible for all UK businesses.

Income Tax: payments due on the 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021. You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment.

The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so.

Further information can be found here.

Third Sector Fund

An additional £350million fund has been set up to support welfare and wellbeing. The funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups and designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly and according to local need for people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food.

Further information can be found here.

Business Gateway Support

Free business support and advice is available through our Business Gateway advisers; you can speak to a local adviser via phone or email on:

Workshops are now being lived streamed and cover a number of areas for business support, book through your local office here.  


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