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COVID-19 Scottish Business Support Summary

In uncertain times, Scottish SMEs and supported businesses are wondering what additional support may be available in Scotland. In partnership with SLAED, the Supplier Development Programme has published a summary of all wider COVID-19 support from EU, UK & Scottish Government. The summary includes a list of each scheme, what it does, who is eligible, and how it is accessed. This summary was last updated on 31 March 2020.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Relief Package

What does it do?

Allows small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

Who and what is eligble?

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.
How is it accessed?

The UK Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Further info available on the UK Government website.

Business Rates (All Businesses)

What does it do?

Rates relief.

Who and what is eligble?

  • 1.6% relief for all properties, freezing the poundage rate next year.

How is it accessed?

Directly applied to business rates bills from 1st April 2020. Further info available on the Scottish Government website.

Business Rates (Specific Sectors)

What does it do?

Rates holiday for 2020/21 tax year.

Who and what is eligble?

  • A full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism business ratepayers.

How is it accessed?

Directly applied to business rates bills from 1st April 2020. Further info available on the Scottish Government website.

Cash Grants

What does it do?

Direct grant support to specific businesses.

Who and what is eligble?

  • £10,000 grant awarded to all small firms receiving the small business bonus or rural relief

  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000.

How is it accessed?

Full details to be confirmed by Scottish Government and COSLA week commencing 23 March 2020. Further details available on the Scottish Government website.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

What does it do?

Loan Support with UK Government Guarantee.

Who and what is eligble?

  • UK Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims)

  • No charge to businesses or banks from the UK Government

  • Supports loans of up to £5 million

  • Interest free for the first 6 months – interest payments are covered by the UK Government

How is it accessed?

Full details to be announced by UK Government week commencing 23 March 2020. Further info available on the UK Government website.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

What does it do?

Purchase of short-term debt (larger firms only).

Who and what is eligble?

  • New lending facility to raise working capital via the Bank of England directly purchasing short-term debt.
  • Supports companies that are fundamentally strong but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze.
  • Supports the corporate finance market overall which eases the supply of credit to all firms.

How is it accessed?

Full details to be announced by UK Government week commencing 23 March 2020. Further info available on the UK Government website.

Insurance

What does it do?

Insurance payout (based on cover).

Who and what is eligble?

  • Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered.
  • UK Government has confirmed with the insurance industry their advice to avoid pubs, theatres, etc. on 17 March 2020 is sufficient to make a claim.

How is it accessed?

Check with your businesses insurer.

HMRC Time to Pay Service

What does it do?

Tax relief.

Who and what is eligble?

  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may receive support.

  • Case-by-case basis and tailored to individual circumstances.

How is it accessed?

Call HMRC’s Dedicated Helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Planning Rules Relaxed (Specific Sectors)

What does it do?

Change of operations.

Who and what is eligble?

  • Local Authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways.

How is it accessed?

Guidance to be published by Local Authorities.

Visitor Levy Bill

What does it do?

Halting of Bill.

Who and what is eligble?

  • The introduction of a visitor levy on tourism in Scotland will be halted.

How is it accessed?

Effective immediately. No further action required.

Deposit Return Scheme

What does it do?

Extension of Go-Live.

Who and what is eligble?

  • The Deposit Return Scheme will now be introduced in July 2022.

How is it accessed?

Effective immediately. No further action required.

Business Loans Scotland and West of Scotland Loan Fund

What does it do?

Three month capital and interest holiday for all existing borrowers

Who and what is eligble?

  • Businesses with existing loans.

How is it accessed?

Applied directly to loans via Business Loans Scotland. No further action required.

EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative

What does it do?

Direct €37 billion increase in EU Structural Funds, including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); European Social Fund (ESF); Cohesion Fund (CF); and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Who and what is eligble?

  • The European Commission has relinquished obligation to request refunding of unspent pre-financing for the listed Funds until programme closure.
  • Member States can now use the amounts not recovered in 2020 to accelerate investments related to COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Proposed for ERDF to support the financing of working capital in SMEs where necessary as a temporary measure.
  • ERDF investment priority to strengthen research, technological development and innovation is modified to cover investment in products and services for fostering the crisis response capacities in public health services. Expenditure on this is eligible from 1 February 2020.

How is it accessed?

Awaiting full European Commission and Member State (i.e. UK & Scottish Governments) legislative approval.

Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund

What does it do?

£50 million fund across Scotland to support at-risk people affected by Covid-19, including homeless people and those experiencing fuel poverty.

Who and what is eligble?

  • For charities and others who require additional capacity to work with target groups.

How is it accessed?

Funding will be allocated direct to local authorities. Awaiting further details from Scottish Government of when local authorities will receive these funds.

Scottish Government Supporting Communities Fund

What does it do?

£40 million fund to support the growth of community efforts at a local level.

Who and what is eligble?

  • Funds for organisations who support people at risk because of age, isolation, carers, homeless people and asylum seekers and signposting people to sources of help, such as applying for benefits.

How is it accessed?

Funding will be allocated direct to local authorities. Awaiting further details from Scottish Government of when local authorities will receive these funds.

Scottish Government Third Sector Resilience Fund

What does it do?

£20 million to ensure health and continued viability of third sector organisations.

Who and what is eligble?

  • Specifically focused on third sector organisations cash flow and other problems.

How is it accessed?

Funding provided directly to third sector. Awaiting further details from Scottish Government of how organisations can access funds.

 

Key Website Pages specific to COVID-19 Business Support include:

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