Coronavirus update - 24 March 8pm

Updated: Mar 26, 2020


**PKC have announced that they are now accepting online applications for the previously promised £10,000 & £25,000 grant for businesses in rateable properties.

**Still no new information on direct support for the self-employed in spite of increasing public pressure for action.

Below are the announcements made that directly impact the self-employed. Please contact us if you need help to clarify any of these points.

For support with your personal finances that is available to everyone, there is a helpful summary available from StepChange here that is kept up to date.


The Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund

  • Grant funding administered by PKC and other local authorities in Scotland

  • Relates to previously promised funding from UK government (see points 3 & 4 below)

  • Eligibility: Businesses operating in rateable properties of £0 - £51,000

  • Application form and full criteria can be found here, and more information is available on the PKC website.

  • Free assistance with form filling is available from GrowBiz if required, please get in touch with us.


(in order of usefulness to most self-employed people)

1. Defer Self Assessment tax and other HMRC tax

  • If you were due to pay an instalment of your income tax in July 2020, you can defer the payment to January 2021.

  • How to apply - This will happen automatically, no need to apply.

  • VAT, PAYE and outstanding tax liability payments can also be deferred. More details on HMRC website here.

2. Universal Credit and ESA for the self-employed

  • If you are facing a significant loss of income, you may need to sign up for benefits to get past the crisis

  • Self-employed people can now access the equivalent of Sick Pay if self-isolating through the Universal Credit system (£94.25 per week). Apply online here.

  • You can access ESA if you have been paying National Insurance through your self-assessment over the past 2 years (£73.10 per week). Apply by calling Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688

  • You can calculate how much you are likely to receive using a benefits calculator before you apply that takes into account your personal circumstances.

  • Read this useful article on how the benefits system works for the self-employed during this crisis.

3. Small Business Rate Relief

  • A grant for businesses with a retail space/commercial premises

  • Grant amount - Up to £10,000 (Initially it was announced as £3,000 but later increased)

  • How to apply - NO application required as the local authority will contact eligible businesses

  • Expect to be contacted early April

4. Support for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

  • Rates relief: No business rates for the next 12 months (announced for England, waiting for Scottish government equivalent)

  • How to apply for rates relief - NO application required as local authorities will contact eligible businesses directly

  • Insured businesses can claim against their policy for pandemics, though most policies exclude them

  • Uninsured businesses have been promised cash grants for up to £25,000 - no details provided on how it will be accessed

  • Planning permission is no longer required to convert pubs and restaurants into takeaways during the crisis

5. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) (Announced 23 March)

  • This is a loan scheme - money received must be paid back

  • It is accessible through your bank - see list of accredited banks here.

  • Key Criteria: Your business should be able to borrow money in normal circumstances i.e. if there was no Coronavirus crisis

  • No interest payable for the first 12 months

  • Contact your bank directly for help to access this funding, but they are likely to be overwhelmed at the moment

  • More details available from the British Business Bank website here.

5. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employers (Announced 20 March)

  • The government will pay 80% of salaries of your employees that you would have otherwise have laid off due to the crisis.

  • This applies to anyone who has been paid through PAYE

  • HMRC will need time to set up the payment system to employers

  • More details are clearly laid out on the HMRC website here.

6. Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay if you are an employer

  • This will allow employers to be refunded where SSP was paid to employees that were absent from work due to Coronavirus.

  • No need to apply as it will take months for the repayment system to be set up



Monitoring the effect of Covid-19 on the Scottish Tourism Industry - Covid-19 Tourism Industry Survey 

NHS Guidance

UK Government guidelines

Scottish Government update - Coronavirus in Scotland

Scottish Government - Latest news announcement

Scottish Government - Help with non-domestic rates during coronavirus

HMRC Helpline

Advice for employers and employees from  ACAS

Statement from Wild Scotland advising activity operators to close from immediate effect

GrowBiz Learning Sessions and Networking Meetings

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.