Business Advice

We all need to adapt and prepare for the impacts of Coronavirus/COVID-19 transmission.

As the Coronavirus continues to impact the operations of businesses, we will continue to update information and highlight tools to implement to minimise impact on local communities and support the UK & Scottish government's strategy.


ACAS furlough letter template

ACAS has produced a free-to-download furlough letter for UK employers and employees, explaining the terms of a furlough agreement.


Self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus, the chancellor has announced. 

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest and will pay 80% of profits up to £2,500 a month for three months initially. Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work.

It is targeted at up to 3.8 million of the 5 million people registered as self-employed, who earn under £50k. The money, backdated till March, will arrive directly into people's banks accounts from HMRC as a lump sum for all three months, but not until June. The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022.

At least half their income needs to have come from self-employment as registered on the 2019-20 tax return filed in January, or averaged over the three previous years. Company owners who pay themselves a dividend are not covered.

Read more here

£2.2 billion for business

The Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues: 

A new Q&A on rates reliefs and grants has been published. This is a live page - click here to access

Actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
  • 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
  • urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
  • extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
  • halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill

Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

UK Govt guidance now available for employers on the coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme.



The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme opened for applications on 23 March. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. Find out more about the CBILS and how to apply.


How to access government financial support if you or your business has been affected by Coronavirus? Review the HM Treasury Coronavirus factsheet.


The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility will provide a quick and cost-effective way to raise working capital for those large firms who need it. 


To access the CCFF firms do not have to have previously issued commercial paper or currently have a credit rating, but do need to be of investment grade – please take a look at what steps can be taken in order to participate. The Bank has published a dedicated webpage for corporates seeking to use the CCFF: participation in CCFF.  

Deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months

The VAT deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. This is an automatic deferral with no applications required. 

  • VAT returns are still required to be prepared and filed by the normal due date.
  • The deferment is applied automatically, there is no requirement for businesses to apply to HMRC.
  • If VAT is normally paid by direct debit, a business will need to cancel the direct debit with their bank to ensure a VAT payment is not collected.

Income tax payment on account due 31 July 2020 deferred

To assist the self-employed the 31 July 2020 Income Tax Payment on Account is being deferred and is to be paid on 31 January 2021.

Further information and guidance can be found on

You can find the latest guidance from the Scottish Government here, on business and social distancing.

The first half of the document is advisory while the second lists the closures which will be enforced.

Guidance for businesses in Scotland on social distancing, including the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

HMRC Payment Support - If you are concerned about being able to pay any outstanding tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline:

0800 0159 559

Through the helpline, HMRC will try and put time to pay arrangements in place for both businesses and the self-employed who are facing financial distress over their outstanding tax liabilities.

A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 - advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.

The helpline is 0300 303 0660, and will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm.

What DIT is doing to provide support to businesses impacted by coronavirus

They have established a dedicated team to support British businesses facing disruption due to the spread of the virus.

Supply chain support: DIT has a global network of relationships with businesses across the world and, where possible, we will seek to provide advice on alternative suppliers.

UKEF facilities available to cover exporters disrupted by coronavirus

Visit their website for more information

As a Chamber member you have FREE access to FOUR essential business services:

  • Chamber HR
  • Chamber Health & Safety
  • Chamber Legal
  • Chamber Tax

These services include the following:

  • Unlimited access to the HR / employment law advice line
  • Unlimited access to an HR website with a document library
  • Unlimited access to a Legal Advice line
  • Unlimited access to an online library of template legal documents
  • Unlimited access to health & safety advice
  • Unlimited access to an online library of health & safety documents
  • Unlimited access to advice on tax and VAT matters

In summary, you have unlimited access to five business advice lines and over 750 free business documents.

Advice Line

One number giving unlimited access to experienced advisors offering practical advice on HR, employment law, health & safety, legal issues plus tax and VAT matters.

Call 01455 852128. You will be asked for your name and company name.


Access to over 750 free template documents covering HR, employment law, health and safety and legal matters. The website also includes HR and H&S Health Checks. To visit the website and login click here.

The Chamber Network:

British Chambers of Commerce hub - preparing for and responding to Coronavirus

As the Coronavirus continues to impact the operations of businesses, the BCC team has collated information and resources from the UK government and our Chamber Network in an online support hub.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce is calling on Scottish Government, UK Government and world leaders to urgently agree on a comprehensive global action plan to address the escalating COVID-19 outbreak, and restore confidence and stability to the global economy. Visit their website for quick access to useful documents and resources to support your business to prepare, minimise and manage the risks of Covid-19.