Coronavirus Update: 17 November

The move to level 3 for many areas of Scotland is having a wide-spread impact, with further hardship to rural businesses particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors — not to mention the many self-employed and business owners who have been excluded from financial assistance schemes altogether — so do get in touch of you're in need of support from the GrowBiz team. Email us or give us a call and leave a message: 01828 627790.


Of course, coronavirus isn't the only challenge faced by rural businesses and we should also not forget that the end of the Brexit transition period is looming. We've included a quick summary of things that you may need to consider in order to be ready below:


Sage Advice for Brexit Preparedness: Is your business ready for the end of the Brexit transition period? Sage have published a useful guide to some of the things you should be aware of, including imports and exports, product certifications and business travel. Here’s a quick summary of some key points:


Importing to GB from the EU following the end of the transition period: Importing goods from EU countries will generally switch to being a similar process to importing goods from non-EU countries. (There are different rules for goods sent by post.) To import goods you’ll need an EORI number and you’ll need to declare goods when they enter GB via an entry summary declaration. This means the goods are eligible for customs duties and import VAT.

If you import goods for use in your business, you can use postponed VAT accounting to avoid the requirement to pay import VAT immediately upon the goods entering the UK. (Different rules will apply to VAT on goods imports not exceeding £135 in value.) Access more details from here.


Exporting goods to the EU following the end of the transition period: As with importing, you’ll need an EORI number beginning with GB and will be required to make customs declarations. Some goods may also need export licenses or certificates. Alternatively, you may be able to use the simplified declaration procedure for some kinds of exported goods. Find details here.


Product certification: If products you manufacture typically require certification, there are different sets of UK government guidance relating to where the products are manufactured and put on sale, which you can access from here. Business travel to most EU countries: Existing passports can still be used following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. But you’ll need to have at least six months left until expiry if you wish to travel to most EU countries (with the exception of Ireland). If your passport expires sooner, then you must apply for and receive a new UK passport. Additionally, passports over 10 years old since the date of issue will need to be renewed, even if they had ‘extra months’ added to the 10-year total following a previous renewal.


This advice is by no means exhaustive, but you can find more details, links and help here.


Other updates this week include:


Changes to COVID-19 Protection Levels: Fife, Perth & Kinross and Angus local authority areas have now moved from Level 2 - where they have been since the new levels system was announced - to Level 3. Find out what that means for you and your business 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.


SBRC Home Working and the Impact of COVID Guide: As millions across the world switch to working from home due to the pandemic, they may be putting the security and privacy of themselves, their families and their employers at risk. The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) in partnership with Police Scotland have produced this document on the risks associated with home working and what can be done about them. SDS Individual Training Account Scheme: Individual Training Accounts are available to help people develop the skills they need for work, giving learners who meet the eligibility criteria up to £200 towards a single training course or training episode per year. This targeted funding aims to support employability by focusing funds on those actively seeking employment and those who are currently in low paid work and looking to progress. Find out more here.


Flexible Workforce Development Fund: For the first time, the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) is available for all Scottish employers, including smaller businesses. The FWDF helps businesses continue to invest in their workforce through training and personal development. Small businesses will be able to access up to £5,000 through college and Open University training in 2020/21 and the fund can be used to completely cover training or to partially cover training at a higher cost. The fund will be utilised to respond directly to the impacts of the pandemic and expressions of interest will be live today, 16 November 2020. Find out more here. Food & Drink Heroes Awards: These awards from the founders of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards will recognise and champion the entrepreneurs within the UK's food and drink industry, shining a spotlight on and supporting them to continue growing. Submissions are now open, find out more here. Interface November Tourism and Climate Change Events: On the 24 November the Interface Collaborations, Circular Economy and Climate Change event will discuss: How can businesses and academics come together to accelerate ideas and projects which help to contribute to the global climate change challenge? The Exploring IoT, Data & Digital for Tourism webinar on the 26 November will explore the potential for using IoT (Internet of Things) in tourism, offer information on how to get started with IoT and data, together with practical insights on developing digital innovation and what that can mean for your business. Finally, although it doesn’t feel like a time to be celebrating, this week is Global Entrepreneurship Week – and it’s worth having a look at the programme of online events happening all over the world here.


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