Coronavirus Support: Find Answers to Your Questions

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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.

Business Guidance:

The Scottish Government have set out a new 5-level system to help tackle the spread of the virus. Read 

more about the new protection levels here. 

​Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector can be found here, and find advice on how to virus proof activities such as delivering and collecting from people's houses and reduce the risk of indirect spread in this useful guide from SCDC and Public Health Scotland.

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What is the latest on furloughing?

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. This scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. If your business has closed or is struggling due to the pandemic, you can apply to furlough employees (put them on temporary leave) rather than make them redundant. Once furloughed, the UK Government will provide a grant to cover 80% of the wages of these employees up to a maximum of £2,500 a month until the end of June 2021. From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. Find out more 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. 

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What if I can’t pay my bills?

You can try applying for Universal Credit here. You can verify your identity through the government gateway system

Self-Isolation Support Grant: Applications for a £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant are designed to help low income workers who have been asked by Test and Protect to self-isolate, but who would face financial hardship in doing so. It will be targeted at those in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits who are employed or self-employed. Find out more here.

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offers advice for those experiencing short-term cash flow problems because of coronavirus here. 

 

HMRC has launched a tax helpline. 

Get debt advice here. 

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) helps small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. It has been extended until 31 March 2021. Borrowers will now have the option to tailor payments according to their individual circumstances, with an option to delay all repayments for a further six months, extend the length of their loans from six to ten years, and make interest-only payments for six months. More here.

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

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme: The fourth instalment of this grant covers the 3-month period from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021 and the online claims service will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date. The UK government has also announced that there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September 2021. You will be able to claim from late July if you are eligible for the fifth grant. The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021: 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduced by 30% or more; 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduced by less than 30%. Find out more here. 

Start Up Loan: This is a government-backed personal loan of of £500 to £25,000 available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. Unlike a business loan, this is an unsecured personal loan. You’ll also get free support and guidance to help write your business plan, and successful applicants get up to 12 months of free mentoring. All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business. Find out more here.

Recovery Loan Scheme: The scheme ensures that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. The UK Government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender to give them the confidence to lend to businesses. The scheme launches on 6 April 2021. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. Find out more here.

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Is there help to keep my business open?

Kickstart Scheme: The government has launched its fund to create high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Check eligibility and apply here.

Strategic Business Framework Fund: See our funding section for the latest details on this fund.

New Lockdown Grants: In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses also get a one off grant. Find out more here.

Temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and hotel accommodation and attractions: The UK Government is allowing VAT-registered businesses to apply a temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% to certain supplies relating to: hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate of 5% has been extended, and will now apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022, a VAT rate of 12.5% will apply. Find out more here.

Help to Grow: This Government programme has been designed to help small and medium sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits. There are two schemes within the programme: Management, a 12 week development programme for which a fee is charged, and Digital, which offers free online advice and discounts on approved software. Find out more here

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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.

Economic Wellbeing Plan for Perth and Kinross: The Covid-19 Business Support Task Force has the Draft Economic Wellbeing Plan for Perth and Kinross for consultation. Take this opportunity to have your say here.

Circular Arts Network: This is a platform where businesses can donate their "waste" material for use by the arts sector. The website is very easy to navigate and donating spare materials will help establish a circular and sustainable arts sector in Scotland. 

‘Escape the Everyday’ Campaign: A new UK-wide campaign to encourage people to take a domestic break during autumn and winter has been launched by the UK’s national tourism organisations and is calling for tourism businesses, visitor attractions and destinations across the UK to get involved. Find out how here. 

REDS (Rural Enterprise Directory Scotland): Our £3 million fundraising campaign to support micro-enterprises and the self-employed in rural Scotland has had almost 50 pledges so far! If you haven’t yet contributed please take a moment to look at our crowdfunding page and consider making a donation, however small: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reds 

Rural and Island Communities Funding: £3M of funding is being allocated by the Scottish Government to support the development of community-led local development pilots to help grow sustainable and thriving rural communities. Find out more here. 

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Is there any other 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.

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.

The Young Person’s Guarantee offers the opportunity of  a job, placement, training or volunteering for every 16-24 year old in Scotland – based on their own goals and ambitions; connecting them to opportunities and signposting to people and information that can help. Employers can be given the resources and support to develop and build their workforce with young talent. To find out more click here.

Start Up Loan: This is a government-backed personal loan of of £500 to £25,000 available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. Unlike a business loan, this is an unsecured personal loan. You’ll also get free support and guidance to help write your business plan, and successful applicants get up to 12 months of free mentoring. All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business. Find out more here.

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What about help for the third sector?

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

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

SCVO is asking staff and volunteers from charities, social enterprises, community groups and voluntary organisations who could start or who already are sharing their experiences through blogs, diaries and articles to start using #NeverMoreNeeded when sharing on social media. The campaign is to help remind government, funders, donors and the general public of how essential the voluntary sector is now and in the future.  

Adapt & Thrive Programme Adapt and Thrive offers tailored, specialist advice, as well as grants and loans. It is delivered in partnership by Firstport, Corra Foundation, SCVO, Just Enterprise, Community Enterprise and Social Investment Scotland. From 11 January 2021, there will be two changes to the programme’s criteria so it can support more organisations on their journey to recovery: Eligible organisations can access funding regardless of turnover size; The top value of grants will increase from £25K to up to £75K. The remaining criteria will continue to apply. Find out more here. 

A new fund is being established to support small businesses within the third sector, helping them to grow as Scotland recovers from the impacts of coronavirus. It will have three elements: The Social Catalyst fund, The Circular Economy Fund  and The Social Impact Venture Portfolio. Find out more here.

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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. 

Help for women in business
The Women’s Business Centre is available to help you bring your business idea to life and flourish as a business owner. This new platform is free to access and offers dedicated content for women setting up their own enterprise, with a variety of topics such as accessing finance, juggling work-life balance and marketing. Visit the website here.
Women in the Rural Economy Training Fund: Alongside the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund, this fund has been created to give women in Rural Scotland more opportunities for land-based and aquaculture training. Open to any woman resident in Scotland who is either already working in or studying in the sector, full-time or part-time, or who is keen to start work in this area, who can demonstrate how the training course will support the development of their business or employment options. Find out more here.

Funding

Funding

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Funding for Goods and Services

Zero Waste Scotland SME Loan Fund: These unsecured, interest-free loans from £1,000 up to £100,000 can be used for the installation of heating renewables and many energy efficiency measures (such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, building fabric, and more). It is funded by the Scottish Government which is committed to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce energy and resource costs. Find out more here.

Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF): The Scottish Government have announced a new Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) which will allow SMEs to access up to £5,000 worth of training through Scotland’s colleges. Defined as a business with less than 250 employees, SMEs will be able to access training locally at Perth College UHI to support them in adapting and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 and help their existing employees to upskill and reskill. Download the brochure here.

Small Business Bonus Scheme: This scheme, developed by the Scottish Government, provides rates relief to help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of coronavirus. You will need to apply via your local authority's website. Find out more here.

Events Industry Support Fund 2: This is for new applicants who were ineligible to apply to the Events Industry Support Fund. Details on the new application process, including criteria and guidance are available here.

REDS Fund: This fund is now available to REDS members who have not been eligible for any of the Covid-19 government support schemes and who are facing genuine hardship. As the fund grows, applications will be accepted from all REDS members. Find out more here.

CNPA and Cairngorms Trust 2021 Green Recovery Fund: The Fund will support projects that create jobs, encourage sustainable growth, protect nature, tackle climate change & directly benefit the local communities in which they take place. This is an opportunity to bring forward project and concepts that will take communities and organisations closer towards finding local solutions and ideas for tackling climate change and moving us towards net zero. First phase of funding will open to applications from 5 April and close on 9 May 2021. There is 1 year to complete the projects. A second phase of funding will open in August 2021. Full details available here.

The Strategic Framework Business Fund: This fund closed to new applications on 22 March, and businesses already receiving it will get a final four-weekly payment through this Fund on that date, and on April 19 will automatically receive a combined final two week supplement and a one-off restart grant to help them re-open. All businesses currently in receipt of support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund will receive this final payment and Restart Grant. Find out more here.

SME Brexit Support Fund: Smaller businesses can now apply for grants of up to £2,000 to assist with training or professional advice that will help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU. Find out more here.

Edinburgh Local Community Grants: A scheme to help the development of projects, community activities and sustainable local action through funding and collaboration. Applications that will involve and benefit people living and/or working in the Edinburgh City Region (includes the City of Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian, Midlothian, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders) are welcomed. Find out more here.

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Funding for Creatives

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. 

Funding for Culture and Heritage Sector: The culture and heritage sectors are to benefit from a funding package from the Scottish Government to protect jobs and help the industry weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers: Funding is available to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship (i.e an inability to meet essential costs at the present time) due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds offer a one-off payment to those who are deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the pandemic. This is now in the second round of funding, which opened on Tuesday 10 November. Find out more here.

REDS Fund: This fund is now available to REDS members who have not been eligible for any of the Covid-19 government support schemes and who are facing genuine hardship. As the fund grows, applications will be accepted from all REDS members. Find out more here.

Perth and Kinross Council Funding Alert

A comprehensive list of support and funding available for those in the Perth and Kinross are is available here.

Commercial Property Regeneration Fund: This new grant fund has been launched by Perth & Kinross Council as part of their ongoing efforts to tackle the financial impact of Covid-19 on the local economy. The CPRF is a match funded grant fund aimed at bringing vacant commercial property back into use for business or housing. A business, property owner, social enterprise or charity could be eligible for a maximum grant of £75,000 or 50% of the cost of adaptation, conversion, repair or re-purposing of a vacant commercial property. Find out more here.

Coronavirus Discretionary Fund: Qualifying businesses in Perth and Kinross that have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and regulations and have had no financial support since 9 October 2020 can apply for this fund, aimed at micro and small businesses across all sectors and company types, including those that do not pay non-domestic rates. The discretionary fund will offer a one-off grant of £2,000 per eligible business. Find out more here.

Funding for Young People

Kickstart Scheme: The government has launched its fund to create high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. You no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements to apply directly for a grant. Check eligibility and apply here.

You can apply for Pounds for Purpose funding if you have an idea to generate positive change, are aged 16-26 and need some funding to put your idea into action. They can provide business support if you decide to turn your idea into a business. Find out more here.

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Third Sector Funding

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. 

Social Entrepreneurs Fund: This Scottish Government-funded programme supports individuals in Scotland to test, start, and grow social enterprise ideas. It runs five different funds, three of which have now re-opened. If you are thinking about or already in the process of starting a social enterprise in Scotland then find out if one of them is right for you here.

The Adapt and Thrive Programme: This programme aims to support organisations across the third sector to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and build back better to thrive in the future. The programme will help organisations to make the necessary changes to operate sustainably so they can continue to have a positive impact on people and communities. More information can be found on the SCVO website.​

Youth Work Education Recovery Fund: This fund will be targeted at those communities and young people who need the most support and is open for applications from Community Learning and Development services that help young people engage and re-engage with learning. Submissions should support partnership work between November 2020 and the end of August 2021. Find out more here.

Scotland Loves Local Fund: A new £1 million ‘Scotland Loves Local’ fund will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 to hundreds of projects to promote town centre and online businesses. The funding aims to support small scale improvements that will help motivate people to shop, eat and relax within their community whilst ensuring public health safety. Find out more here. 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund: These will reopen with refocused priorities for 2021-22, prioritising heritage projects that: boost the local economy; encourage skills development and job creation; support wellbeing; create better places to live, work and visit; improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage. Find out more here

Alpkit Foundation: Grants of up to £500 are available for a range of outdoor and environmentally focused projects — including outdoor classrooms, allotments and community growing spaces. This is a rolling fund and there's no limit to the number of times you can apply. Find out more here.

Scale+Innovate - Employability & Training: Open to established small to medium size charities or social enterprises working in employability and training or environment and conservation who are looking to scale their organisation and implement a new initiative to help recover and rebuild from Covid-19. Find out more here (in order to view, you may be asked to sign up to SRN Funding Search).

REDS Fund: This fund is now available to REDS members who have not been eligible for any of the Covid-19 government support schemes and who are facing genuine hardship. As the fund grows, applications will be accepted from all REDS members. Find out more here.

Third Sector Growth Fund: A new fund is being established to support small businesses within the third sector, helping them to grow as Scotland recovers from the impacts of coronavirus. It will have three elements: The Social Catalyst fund, The Circular Economy Fund  and The Social Impact Venture Portfolio. Find out more 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.