Coronavirus Support: Find Answers to Your Questions

What is the latest guidance for myself and my business? 

Health Advice:

Above all, it’s important to know what to do if we or a member of our family falls in the high risk category or feels unwell with coronavirus symptoms. The NHS has laid out all such information here. 

 

The Scottish Government provides latest news here, and advice and updates, including the latest figures on cases of coronavirus in Scotland, here.

 

Scotland's proposed route map through and out of the coronavirus crisis can be found here. Currently we are in Phase 1.

Business Guidance:

We all want to keep ourselves and those around us safe, including customers and staff if our business is able to remain open. The Government has published guidance for employers and businesses, including social distancing, sick pay and food safety. 

 

Another useful resource is the ACAS coronavirus advice page for employers and employees. Detailed advice on social distancing in Scotland can be found here.

What is furloughing and what do I need to do? 

Furloughing means that an employee has been given temporary leave. Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme employers who have had to furlough employees due to the coronavirus can apply for a grant to cover a percentage of their wages. From 1 July 2020, businesses will be have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work. From August 2020 the amount of government grant provided will be tapered, dropping from 80% to 70% in September, and 60% in October. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June. Find out more here.  You can claim here. 

 

A template of a furlough letter that you can send to your employees can be found here.

 

The HR Dept has an easy to use hub for employers, including information on Statutory Sick Pay and working from home here, and employers can now reclaim Statutory Sick Pay using this online service.

 

If you’re employed and are concerned about what you should do, then you can find the Government advice here. 

What if I can’t pay my bills?

You can try applying for Universal Credit here. It’s now easier to apply because you can verify your identity through the government gateway system

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed several new measures that have been introduced to help those experiencing short-term cash flow problems because of coronavirus, including asking for a 3 month payment freeze on personal loans, credit cars and motor finance. Find out more here. 

 

You also may have the option to take a mortgage holiday and your bank may be able to offer some assistance—check what your bank says here. 

 

HMRC has launched a tax helpline. 

 

If your family previously qualified for free school meals you can apply for direct payments. Find out more here.

 

Get debt advice here. 

I’m self-employed, what help can I expect?

If you’ve been self employed for a year or more (long enough to have submitted a tax return) then you will likely qualify for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme is now open and you do not need to wait for an invitation from HMRC to make your claim. You will need to apply yourself, as your accountant or agent cannot claim for you. Claim here.

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be able to claim a second and final grant in August, worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits. This will cover three months’ worth of profits—capped at a total of £6,570—and will be paid out in a single instalment. Find out more here.

The Scottish Government Business Support Fund is being expanded to include small B&Bs who were ineligible for other support due to not having a business bank account. They will be able to apply for a share of £3 million of funding which has been re-purposed from the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. This funding will be administered by local authorities and applications are expected to open on 15 June. Find out more here.

 

If you’ve been trading for less than a year then you should apply for the Newly Self-employed Hardship Fund. If you live in Perth and Kinross you can apply here. If you live further afield you can find out where to apply here. 

Can my business open and is there help to do so?

Scotland's proposed route map through and out of the coronavirus crisis, including details on businesses that can open and what restrictions must be met, can be found here. Currently we are in Phase 1 of the process.

 

The Rural Employment Incentive will provide employers with a financial contribution towards the costs of recruiting and sustaining a young person in employment, aiming to support employers and encourage the recruitment of young people (aged 16-29). 

If you have a young family and you’re struggling to work while schools are closed you can see if you’re eligible to apply for childcare at Children’s Activity Centres here. 

A provisional date of 15 July has been set for when tourism businesses may be able to resume operations, dependent on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the Scottish Government lockdown route-map. A new Scottish Recovery Tourism Taskforce will assist. Find out more here. 

An extensive guide to new cleaning protocols for self catering and holiday lets has been published by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers and is available here.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have published a report on the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses and what needs to be done to support their recovery. You can read it here.

How can I help?

If you’re able to provide employment you can enter your vacancy into the Our Skillsforce Job Hub. 

The Department of Work and Pensions has created Employerhelp, a new website which focuses on recruiting.

The Covid-19 Business Support Task Force established by PKC in March is looking to gather information on how the coronavirus crisis has impacted on local businesses to inform their local Economic Recovery Plan. They want to ensure the business support provide-d is what is needed both now and going forward. You can help by taking the survey here.

A group of local creatives are looking to establish whether there's a demand for a collective workshop space in the creative community of Crieff and surrounding area. If you work in the creative industries please take a few minutes to complete the survey here.

Scottish Rural Action Survey: Scottish Rural Action are looking for an insight into how your community is responding to the coronavirus crisis and would like to hear your views on what would strengthen its economy and wellbeing. The survey takes about eight minutes and will be repeated every four weeks. Take it here.

Is there any temporary work available for me? 

A free-to-use jobs portal to help workers from the tourism and hospitality sectors who have found themselves displaced as a result of the COVID-19 has been launched.

 

You could also consider learning something new. The government is hosting a free online learning platform designed to boost workplace skills. 

The Department of Work and Pensions has created two new websites: Jobhelp and Employerhelp. Jobhelp offers essential advice about which sectors are recruiting now, transferable skills and how to secure a new role, and Employerhelp focuses on recruiting.

What about help for the third sector?

Find lots of third sector help and advice on the SCVO website hub. 

 

Burness Paull has a useful and informative webinar recording on Third Sector Governance in the Time of COVID-19, which you can listen to here

 

The Scottish Community Development Centre is offering advice on how to work digitally here. 

Am I eligible for business rates relief?

You can get help with non-domestic rates through the Small Business Bonus Scheme. You can find out if your business is listed as a commercial property here

You will be now able to apply for this grant if you not a ratepayer, but you occupy certain types of shared space. You must lease the space from a landlord who is the registered ratepayer and have a lease signed before 17 March 2020. You must also be a registered business or partnership, employ at least one person and have a business bank account. Find out more here. 

Funding

Funding for Goods and Services

£100m Fund for SME House-builders: SME house-builders with a yearly turnover of £45m or less and who build five or more homes per annum will be able to apply for a short-term loan of up to £1m from the Scottish Government. Applications open from May 18. Find out more here. 

Tourism Destination and Sector Support Fund: This fund will provide financial help to tourism destination and sector  organisations across Scotland who've lost income from membership subscriptions from tourism businesses due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Find out more here.

 

The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust (FCFCT) and Seafarers UK, with a group of trusted partners, have developed the COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Programme (RRGP), which seeks to assist food charities, fishing and seafood businesses that are seeking diversification opportunities, promoting the consumption or sale of local seafood, or providing community meals using seafood. They will be prioritising initiatives that demonstrate collaborative working among stakeholders and preference will be given to applications under £10,000. Find out about the different grants available here

Funding for Young People

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund: The £5million Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future. Find out more here.

Funding for Creatives

Visual Arts Scotland: Creative practitioners wanted to take part in a series of free online events happening every Friday. Contributions can include studio tours, talks, demos and performances. Each contributor will receive a £125 fee. Deadline: 20 May 2020 at 17:00. Find out more here.  

 

Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund: This fund is to support freelance or self-employed screen practitioners working in Scotland’s screen sector who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of screen sector income in Scotland as a result of the pandemic. Find out more here. 

 

Sustaining Creative Development Open Fund: The fund focuses support on helping individuals and organisations to sustain themselves during the pandemic. It’s open to individuals who are freelance or self-employed artists and creative practitioners in Scotland, and organisations and groups based in Scotland whose work or project involves the arts, screen and creative industries. Find out more here. 

 

Edinburgh International Film Festival is partnering with IFP in Brooklyn, New York to support one fiction and one documentary project to take part in IFP Week this September.  

 

The Goldsmiths’ Company and Charity have now launched a £1 million fund – the Goldsmiths’ COVID-19 Fund – to support individuals working in the jewellery, silversmithing and allied trades and help them through a period of hardship to sustain the craft, skills and future of the industry during an unprecedented period in most people’s lifetimes. Find out more here.

Third Sector Funding

Wellbeing Fund: The Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund supports organisations across the third sector that are providing important services for people as a result of coronavirus. Find out more here.

 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The UK-wide fund—money raised from The National Lottery—will address immediate pressures over the next few months for those organisations most in need. It is now open for applications until 30 June. Find out more here.

 

Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund: The Fund has been established by the William Grant Foundation, Faith in Community Scotland and the National Lottery Community Fund so that Scotland’s network of local faith groups and related community organisations can provide immediate support for individuals and families during the early stages of COVID-19. Find out more here.

 

The Covid-19 Clothworkers’ Emergency Capital Programme (CECP): This will award small capital grants of up to £5,000 for essential capital items to adapt or increase services in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Priority will be given to organisations supporting vulnerable and ‘at risk’ groups within programme areas during this period. Find out more here.

 

 

The Third Sector Resilience Fund: A £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Find out more here. 

The Gannochy Trust COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Fund is a £500,000 fund designed to assist in keeping local charities operational during the pandemic, enabling them to develop and deliver services that local communities need. Charities operating in Perth and Kinross that fit the eligibility criteria can apply here.

FAQ

What will happen to GrowBiz Learning Sessions and Networking Meetings during the outbreak?

 

We have moved all our events and networking meetings online. These are open to any small or micro-business in rural Scotland.  We’ll be adding more events to help support you to adapt and survive the coming weeks including how to use online conferencing and preparing for and delivering your services online.

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