Coronavirus Update — 2 May

There’s been some good news this week, not least of all the announcement that the UK is now ‘past the peak’ of the coronavirus outbreak. Although care must be taken not to experience a second wave of infection, there is also hope that lockdown restrictions might soon be eased a little, allowing some businesses to resume trading, although likely with altered working practices.

More good news for individuals and businesses comes in the form of financial help now being received, with some schemes paying out already and others now open for applications. You can find more details on these below.

The following funds are now open for applications:

£34 million Newly Self-employed Hardship Fund: This fund, which was announced by the Scottish Government last week, is now open for applications. It’s purpose is to provide relief to newly self-employed who are not eligible for other support schemes. A grant of up to £2,000 to those registered as self-employed during the 2019/20 tax year can be applied for here. Or, if you are based outside Perth & Kinross you can check details on how to apply here.

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund:

This fund consists of bespoke, needs-based grant awards for demonstrably vulnerable Scottish SME firms who can present a strong business case for a viable future, proving that they are vital to the local, regional or national economy. The fund is to support these companies with working capital in order to help them either to continue or to resume trading when the time is right. Find out more here.

Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund: This fund is for small creative, tourism and hospitality companies experiencing hardship because they are ineligible for other coronavirus Government grant support. It’s designed to help companies to manage cashflow commitment for the next 3 months. Grants of up to £25,000 can be accessed in addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Find out more here.

We also have some updates for you on funding currently being processed and other financial assistance that’s been updated or made available:

Business Support Grant: Perth & Kinross Council has now processed 2624 Business Support Grant applications, with £25m being paid out to businesses in the area. Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 are available and businesses who have not yet applied are being urged to do so as soon as possible. You can do so here.

Coronavirus Bounceback Loan: This Government guaranteed loan of up to £50,000 is aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses. Loan terms will be up to 6 years and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Thereafter the Government has set the interest rate at 2.5% (more on that here.) The scheme will open on the 4th May. Find out more here.

Three Month Payment Freeze: 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.

COVID-19 grants now available to fishermen & seafood businesses:

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.

While you have some spare time, why not take advantage of these opportunities:

Free Online Learning Platform: Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the website, giving people access to high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help those working and studying remotely to build skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects. It also offers furloughed employees the chance to develop their skills or learn new ones while they are at home. Courses range from everyday maths, to help in effectively using email and social media, to learning how to code for data analysis. The course are of course online and are flexible. Find more information here.

Award-winning GrowBiz Mentoring Programme: If you’re furloughed or have some spare time just now perhaps you’d consider using your skills to volunteer as a GrowBiz mentor? You will receive training, but really what businesses need more than ever is good listening ear! Find out how to apply here.

If you would like some help with any of the items mentioned in this blog post please get in touch with us on the Contact page and one of our experienced and friendly advisors will be happy to assist.