Archive

KEY UPDATES:

A staged approach to Phase 2 in Scotland

Scotland will enter the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions on Friday 19 June 2020. Over the coming weeks shops will start to reopen, work will resume in certain industries, and some of the rules about meeting other people will be relaxed. 

The current status of the epidemic in Scotland means that the changes in Phase 2 will be introduced in stages, rather than all at once.

View the Updated Route Map table to reflect the move to Phase 2 in Scotland's route map through and out of the crisis:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis-phase-2-update/


REMINDER: Applications for the Small Business Grants Fund closes 5pm on 10 July 2020

News Release: 8 June 2020

Small businesses which share properties but do not pay business rates are now eligible to apply for grants to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, rate-paying landlord. Separately, eligibility has also been extended to companies occupying multiple premises with a cumulative value of more than £51,000.

Eligible businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for grants of up to £10,000.

It has also been confirmed that the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes will close for new applications on 10 July. Latest figures up to 2 June show that £824.541 million has been distributed to 72,622 businesses across Scotland through the schemes, but that new applications have slowed in recent weeks.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“Our comprehensive package of business support is now worth more than £2.3 billion. Our programme is kept under constant review, and we are always looking for ways to extend eligibility to help more businesses. That is precisely what we are doing today.

“New applications for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes have slowed in recent weeks as large numbers of businesses have already applied. We are committed to ensuring every penny we receive from the UK Government for business support - and more – will be passed to businesses. It is essential that we do not allow funds to sit for too long in schemes that are attracting few applications, so we have decided to bring these to a close next month. That will mean that any remaining money can be re-routed to help businesses in other ways, as we have already started to do for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

“I would encourage the owners of any eligible small business which needs support to consider applying through their local authority during the next five weeks and before 10 July.”

Local links to apply: 

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE businesses, please refer to - https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/business/grant-and-loan/business-support-fund/

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE (downloadable pdf available at page link below) -  

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/business/business-support-during-coronavirus-emergency

OTHER REGIONS IN SCOTLAND: https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/small-business-support-grant/


CJRS – Flexible Furloughing Starts From 1 July 2020

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are to begin with businesses able to flexibly furlough eligible employees from 1 July onwards.

Businesses can claim a more flexible grant for any employee it has previously received a CJRS grant for, and who now returns to work on reduced hours. Businesses can also continue to claim for employees who stay fully furloughed.

Guidance on eligibility and how to claim for flexibly furloughed employees can be found by searching for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV.UK.

What you need to do next
  •  Claim for periods ending on or before 30 June, by 31 July – this is the last date you can make those claims;
  •  Agree the hours and shift patterns that you want your employees to work from 1 July;
  •  Pay your employees' wages for the time they’re in work and apply for a job retention scheme grant to cover the remainder of their usual hours for which they are still furloughed; and
  •  Claim for further furlough periods as needed – the first time you will be able to make a claim for days in July will be 1 July.

Guidance on opening of public and customer toilets during the coronavirus pandemic has recently been released. 

The opening of public toilets carries with it a risk of transmission of COVID-19 given the low levels of natural light, lack of ventilation, many surfaces to touch and the purpose of a toilet. Therefore, there is a need for careful consideration of how public toilets can be opened as safely as possible.

Safe opening will vary according to specific sectors and should align to the guidance provided by those sectors in terms of restart. Assurance that adequate sanitary facilities can be provided where appropriate is integral to the restart process.

Public toilets are defined as any toilets accessible to the public. The opening of toilets should be accompanied by local risk assessment, and control measures should be proactively monitored by operators. Most premises should have a norovirus policy that can be adapted for use in cleaning facilities if an individual with COVID-19 symptoms is known to have used the facilities.

Risk assessment should specifically include:
  • remote/unmonitored facilities for which there may be increased demand as travel restrictions are eased and people start travelling greater distances
  • janitorial staff for whom operators should already have procedures/PPE in place
Find out more here

Update - Scottish RouteMap

The Scottish Government has today (Wednesday 24 June)  set out indicative dates for amendments to current restrictions planned for the remainder of Phase 2 and early in Phase 3, to assist businesses, individuals and organisations to prepare.

The easing of lockdown will mean that some businesses can re-open, adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Monday 29 June

Indoor (non-office) workplaces resume once relevant guidance is implemented.
Includes: factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities.
Excludes: indoor workplaces due to open in Phase 3 (e.g. non-essential offices and call-centres).

Friday 3 July

Travel distance restriction relaxed

Monday 6 July

Outdoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)

Monday 13 July

All dental practices begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care. 
Increasing capacity within community optometry practices for emergency and essential eye care
Non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open (following guidance and with physical distancing)

Wednesday 15 July

All holiday accommodation permitted (following relevant guidance)
Indoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)
Hairdressers and barbers - with enhanced hygiene measures
Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries - with physical distancing and other measures (e.g. ticketing in advance)
All childcare providers can open subject to individual provider arrangements

Further Phase 3 announcements are expected to be made at the next review on 9 July

For more information please visit the Scottish Government Website


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

On Friday 29 May the Chancellor announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August. HMRC has updated its guidance to confirm that:

  • Those eligible for the first grant must claim on or before 13 July 2020;
  • Applications for the second grant will open in August;
  • The eligibility criteria remain the same as for the first SEISS grant;
  • Those claiming for the second grant will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020; and
  • Individuals can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.

The guidance also includes new examples of when the ‘adversely affected’ criteria for the first and second grant will be met.


SCC Network Report To Advisory Group On Economic Recovery

Scottish Chambers of Commerce submission to the Scottish Government's AGER, following the SCC Network roundtable with Benny Higgins and Lord Smith held on 28th May, has now been submitted following consultation with the wider Scottish Chamber Network and the Scottish Business Advisory Group.

Read the report


Support for tourism industry 10 June 2020

Further measures have been announced by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing to support Scotland’s vital tourism industry.

A new Scottish Recovery Tourism Taskforce will assist with the ongoing reset of the sector - and a provisional date of 15 July has been set for when tourism businesses may be able to resume operations, dependent on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the Scottish Government lockdown route-map.

The taskforce will look at the sector’s recovery needs as well as actions being taken by the UK Government and the development of a new domestic visitor marketing campaign.

The taskforce is in addition to the £2.3 billion package of support for businesses across Scotland which includes measures specific to the tourism and hospitality industry such as a full year’s non-domestic rates relief and specific grant schemes which are not available elsewhere in the UK.

Mr Ewing made the announcements during a statement to Parliament. He said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges across the entirety of the Scottish economy, but it is very clear there are exceptional circumstances facing this sector that must be recognised.

“We have acted as quickly as we can to address the significant financial challenges faced by businesses and provide a comprehensive package of support. We are also pushing the UK Government to do more, including a review of VAT rates and to consider extensions to schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“I’ve been engaging with businesses since the beginning of the outbreak and I have heard their calls for more clarity which today I can provide. Businesses should start to prepare for a provisional return to trading – with appropriate safety guidelines – on the 15th July 2020.

“This date cannot be definitive and is conditional on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the route map. Businesses must now use this time to satisfy the necessary regulations and adapt to the new way of living.”

Please find links to key documents below:

COVID-19: Scotland’s route map for transitioning through and out of the crisis

Transport Transition Plan


Grants extended to help more companies in need but deadline to apply for grants now 10 July 2020

Small businesses which share properties but do not pay business rates are now eligible to apply for grants to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, rate-paying landlord. Separately, eligibility has also been extended to companies occupying multiple premises with a cumulative value of more than £51,000.

Eligible businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for grants of up to £10,000.

It has also been confirmed that the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes will close for new applications on 10 July. Latest figures up to 2 June show that £824.541 million has been distributed to 72,622 businesses across Scotland through the schemes, but that new applications have slowed in recent weeks.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“Our comprehensive package of business support is now worth more than £2.3 billion. Our programme is kept under constant review, and we are always looking for ways to extend eligibility to help more businesses. That is precisely what we are doing today.

“New applications for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes have slowed in recent weeks as large numbers of businesses have already applied. We are committed to ensuring every penny we receive from the UK Government for business support - and more – will be passed to businesses. It is essential that we do not allow funds to sit for too long in schemes that are attracting few applications, so we have decided to bring these to a close next month. That will mean that any remaining money can be re-routed to help businesses in other ways, as we have already started to do for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

“I would encourage the owners of any eligible small business which needs support to consider applying through their local authority during the next five weeks and before 10 July.”

FUNDING IS AVAILABLE VIA YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY:

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE 

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/business/business-support-during-coronavirus-emergency

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE: 

https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/business/grant-and-loan/business-support-fund/


Chancellor Extends Self-Employment Support Scheme and Confirms Furlough Steps

The UK government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, giving more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus in the coming months.

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The Chancellor also set out more details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work, following the announcement of an extension of the scheme on 12 May.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything;

August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed;

September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed; and

October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.


Lockdown begins to ease in Phase 1

Physical distancing and staying at home still key to tackling COVID-19

Changes to Scotland’s lockdown restrictions have been confirmed today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

While some outdoor activity restrictions will ease as of Friday, the public are still urged to stay at home as much as possible and maintain strict physical distancing when outdoors.

From tomorrow, two households will be allowed to meet in outdoor spaces up to a suggested maximum of eight people. However, it is important that physical distancing and hygiene rules are maintained.

 Read more here https://www.gov.scot/news/lockdown-begins-to-ease-in-phase-1/


Scotland is preparing the transport system as we transition through and out of the COVID-19 crisis.

 


Construction Sector Guidance From Scottish Government

After working with representative bodies, employers and trade unions from the construction sector, updated guidance has been published to help construction restart safely and recover from the damaging impact of COVID-19.  

Please find links to the guidance below:

Construction Guidance

Updated guidance for other sectors still to come.


Covid-19 Sick Pay Scheme Opens For Applications

In a further boost to employers affected by the outbreak, The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme – which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the Budget -opened for applications this morning.

The scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 members of staff, to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks - worth nearly £200 per employee.

Launching on gov.uk, the new online service is being run by HMRC, and after making an application employers will receive the money within six working days.

To get the rebate, employers will need to go online and input simple information on the employees being claimed for.


Test And Protect Rolled Out Nationally

Test and Protect – NHS Scotland’s approach to controlling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community – will be rolled out across all health boards from Thursday 28th May.

From that date, everyone aged five and over who has COVID-19 symptoms of a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell should go to NHS Inform online or call 0800 028 2816 to book a test.  

Under the system, people will need to isolate with their household as soon as they have symptoms and, if they have a positive test result, they will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS contact tracers.  Those people will be contacted and asked to isolate for 14 days.

As part of the roll out, guidance for individuals and employers has been published which sets out advice on what to do if someone is displaying symptoms or if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

It includes information on how to self-isolate safely as part of Test and Protect, what plans need to be made by households and families, and how to help older people or those with underlying health conditions.

 


Scottish Government To Publish Public Transport Guidance

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson set out the fresh guidance for bus and train passengers in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 26 May.

People in Scotland using public transport are being advised to use face coverings and follow distancing guidelines ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions.

They are being urged to avoid busier times on trains and buses, walk or cycle where they can, and to work from home where possible.

But only a limited service will operate during the first phase of lockdown easing - with a limited capacity to allow for physical distancing.

He will urge employers to be "as flexible as possible" with their employees. The focus on urging people to work from home is likely to remain in place for some time.

His guidance is being published alongside a new Transport Transition Plan - a "dynamic and evolving" web-based publication which will share current guidance with stakeholders and members of the public.

This guidance and the plan is still be published on the Scottish Government website and we will update this page with links in due course.

 


Sector Guidance From Scottish Government

New guidance has been published for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work, with updated guidance for construction to publish later in the week.

The documents, which are among the first for a number of specific sectors, have been developed in consultation with business, trades unions and regulators. It will provide advice on essential equipment and services needed to create the conditions for safer workplaces.

Companies are expected to undertake a robust risk management approach that has been developed and maintained through joint working with employees. This will offer assurances to workers when the time is right to return to work.

Working to the phased approach in the route map on easing lockdown published last week, it details the steps required for businesses, acknowledging that some will face more complications when reopening than others, while also considering the impact on employees.

 

Scottish Government Increases Funding Support

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 26 May, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fiona Hyslop MSP outlined further measures that the Scottish Government are taking to support more businesses adversely affected by Covid-19:

  • Extending the eligibility of the current small business and retail, hospitality and leisure grant to businesses that occupy multiple premises with a cumulative value above 51k;
  • And also to businesses occupying premises such as shared office spaces, business incubators and shared industrial units where the landlord is the ratepayer; and
  • In addition, for those businesses that were ineligible to apply for Hardship Funds because they did not have a Business Bank Account, the Scottish Government will be exploring ways of how to support those companies.

Further details will be released later this week.

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ROUTE MAP THROUGH AND OUT OF THE CRISIS - FRAMEWORK FOR DECISION MAKING


Grant support is available to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of these one-off grants is to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery.

Larger Businesses To Benefit From Loans Of Up To £200 Million

Businesses will be able to benefit from larger loans under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the government announced today.

The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million, to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak.

The expanded loans, which have been introduced following discussions with lenders and business groups, will be available from 26 May.
Borrowers under CLBILS will be able to borrow up to 25% of turnover, up to a maximum of £200 million;

How To Claim Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay

The Covid-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on 26 May. The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Tax agents will be able to make claims on behalf of employers.

Employers are eligible to use the scheme if:

They’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus;
They had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020;
They had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020; and
They’re eligible to receive State Aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework.
The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:

Have coronavirus;
Are self-isolating and unable to work from home; and
Are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
To prepare to make a claim, employers should keep records of all the SSP payments they wish to claim for. Further details can be found via the below link.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

13 May 2020: Applications for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme open early

The UK government’s scheme to support the self-employed has today opened for claims – weeks ahead of schedule. 

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens for applications today
  • those eligible will receive government grant worth up to £7,500
  • money expected to be in bank accounts by 25 May

From 8am this morning self-employed individuals or members of partnerships  wh ose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits.

Millions are expected to benefit from the scheme with the payments – to be paid in a single instalment covering three months and capped at £7,500 – expected to land in bank accounts within six working days of each claim.

Everyone eligible for the SEISS, which is one of the most generous support schemes announced by any government in response to coronavirus, will be able to receive the government grant by 25 May, or within six days of a completed claim.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Individuals are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020, intend to continue trading, and they: 

  • earn at least half of their income through self-employment
  • have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year
  • traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year

HMRC calculate the amount to be paid to each eligible claimant based on an average of the tax returns for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Check if you are eligible for the scheme here.

Customers have been invited to claim their SEISS grant on a specified date, from 13 - 18 May. They won’t be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.

People can check their date using HMRC’s online checker at any time.

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

For further information, please read HMRC’s guidance or speak to your tax agent. If you need further support, please use HMRC’s webchat service or call the Covid-19 Helpline on 0800 024 1222.

 


12 May 2020: Job Retention Scheme Extension

Announced today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the scheme has been extended as is to the end of July, with the overall scheme extended to the end of October with new flexibilities and lower payment rate. 

From August to October, employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring back furloughed employees part-time, to support the transition to work.

We will be working with the Chambers of Commerce network to influence the detail of the scheme and very much welcome the announcement.

It is vital that businesses can influence the flexibility of the scheme to enable recovery planning, as well as receiving the right level of support for their sector and geographical area in order to ensure economic sustainabiity. 

Read more here


Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

As part of Scottish Government’s support to businesses, a fund has been established to support the newly self-employed who are not eligible for any other form of financial support.

The purpose of this fund is to provide hardship relief to newly self-employed individuals who have not been able to access support through other schemes.

Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £2000.

Individuals may only apply once and only in one Local Authority area. This must be the Local Authority area in which they live, regardless of where they trade.

This fund is being administered by local authorities:

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE

https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/business/grant-and-loan/self-employed-hardship-fund/

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/webform/self-employed-hardship-fund-application-0

GLASGOW

https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/HardshipFund


 

30 April 2020: Three new grants for businesses impacted by coronavirus now available:

YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY WILL ADMINISTER THIS FUND

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE

https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/business/grant-and-loan/self-employed-hardship-fund/

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/webform/self-employed-hardship-fund-application-0#overlay-context=residents/business/business-support-during-coronavirus-emergency

GLASGOW

https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/HardshipFund


Non-Domestic Rates

  • 1-year rates holiday (100% relief) for all retail, hospitality and leisure properties, from April.
  • 1.6% NDR relief for all properties across Scotland, from April.
  • A new Local Government Finance Order to approve the NDR estimate reduction of £1bn and an increase in General Revenue Grant of £1bn.

Grants to businesses

  • £10k grant for all businesses qualifying for Small Business Bonus Scheme, eligible for rural relief or nurseries relief, from April.
  • £25k grant for businesses in hospitality sector for Rateable Values between £18,000 and £51,000 from April.
  • Total cost: £1.2bn with 120,000 businesses eligible.

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE businesses, please refer to - https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/business/grant-and-loan/business-support-fund/

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE (downloadable pdf available at page link below) -  

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/business/business-support-during-coronavirus-emergency

OTHER REGIONS IN SCOTLAND: https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/


OTHER SUPPORT AND UPDATES

 

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


Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans 

New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced today (Monday 27 April).

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days, and comes alongside the £6 billion awarded in business grants, supporting 4 million jobs through the job retention scheme and generous tax deferrals supporting hundreds of thousands of firms.

The government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days- providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

"Our smallest businesses are the backbone of our economy and play a vital role in their communities. This new rapid loan scheme will help ensure they get the finance they need quickly to help survive this crisis.

This is in addition to business grants, tax deferrals, and the job retention scheme, which are already helping to support hundreds of thousands of small businesses."

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

"Our small businesses are vital in ensuring our communities thrive and will be crucial in creating jobs and securing economic growth as we recover.

This rapid loan scheme offers additional protection so small companies across the country can get access to the finance they need immediately, as part of the unprecedented package of support we have put in place."

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.


Essential workers: apply for a Coronavirus test

All essential workers and members of their households who are showing symptoms of Coronavirus can now book a test via the new online system. Employers can register and refer self-isolating staff and employees can book for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms.

Essential workers can enter their details and will then receive a text or email the same day inviting them to book an appointment at one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites across the country, or to receive a home testing kit. Please note more allocations of tests are made available everyday.

Test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48hrs, and within 72hrs of collection of the home delivery tests.

Anyone who thinks they are eligible and has symptoms and would like to be tested should speak to their employer or use the self-referral website to request a test. Find further information here.


Scottish Government Announce Lifeline Support For Businesses in Scotland

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days. Read the full statement here

The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief
  • £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland

The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

Background
The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed. The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.


 

Social Distancing Regulations Strengthened in Scotland

Social distancing regulations introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed and extended to protect workers.

Temporary regulations restricting public gatherings and non-essential business activity have been in force since 26 March.

The regulations must be reviewed every 3 weeks and are kept under continual review by the Scottish Government. A number of amendments have now been made to protect workers and provide further guidance for people in Scotland.

The adjustments to the regulations include formalising the two metre distancing rules to all businesses that remain open. Businesses that do not take all reasonable measures to enforce those rules could be fined or ultimately prosecuted.

The legislation will also make clear that livestock markets and money advice services such as foreign exchange services can continue to operate, while holiday accommodation businesses can manage online and telephone services for bookings related to future dates. A technical change has also been made to clarify that burial grounds can stay open.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live this week, with businesses able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.

Employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC’s new online portal - with the money expected to land in their bank accounts within six working days.

The job retention scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a package of support to protect jobs and businesses, allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employees wages, capped at £2,500 a month.

Millions of people across the UK are expected to benefit from the scheme, with businesses including Pret a Manger, Brewdog and Timpsons using it to ensure staff keep their jobs and are paid whilst many high street businesses are closed.

HMRC’s portal has a step by step application process and up to 5,000 staff will be manning phone lines and webchat services to ensure any questions can be answered.

Last week the Chancellor announced the scheme will be extended for a further month until the end of June, to reflect continuing Covid-19 lockdown measures.

*Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before March 19 they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system.

It's recommended that you take a screenshot of your successful online submission in case you need to provide that information to your bank or have any queries at a later date.

Here are some useful links:

Delaying import duty payments as a result of Coronavirus

HM Revenue and Customs has released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. This includes advice for Duty deferment account holders and for Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account.

Further details can be found on the British Chambers site under the trade heading within the 'official guidance from UK government'.


The UK government has provided further clarification on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including details businesses will need in order to make a claim once the portal goes live.

The portal for claims goes live on 20 April. Please take a look so that you can take timely action.

There has been further clarifications to the guidance, including:

  • confirmation of what should form the basis for furlough pay for employees furloughed on return from (maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption/sick/parental bereavement) leave;
  • confirmation that employees subject to TUPE transfer/ business reorganisation/ payroll consolidation can be furloughed;
  • confirmation of the position for contractors in scope of IR35 in the public sector; and
  • clarification of the circumstances where an employee shouldn’t be furloughed by multiple employers.
Take a look at HMRC's recorded webinar which provides guidance on the Scheme including information and advice on:

• furloughed workers;
• scheme eligibility;
• how to calculate a claim and more.


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has issued a list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by Coronavirus.


Coronavirus testing capacity call

The UK government is requesting industry involvement in the manufacture of Coronavirus testing capacity and testing kits. Please spread the word with your members and share the specification criteria. Businesses who meet this specification should review the guidance on helping the government increase testing capacity and register here.

Use this service to advise how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus.

The support needed includes things like:

  • medical testing equipment
  • medical equipment design
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
  • hotel rooms
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • manufacturing equipment
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement or engineering
  • social care or childcare

You’ll be asked some questions about the type of support you can give. You’ll then be contacted as soon as possible if your support is needed.

You’ll need your company number if you have one.

15 April 2020

Second phase of funding to protect against the effects of COVID-19.

Around £220 million of further grants are being made available for businesses - including the recently self-employed - to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Details TBC

https://news.gov.scot/news/additional-support-for-business

8 April 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £750m package to keep struggling charities afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52221402


Letter from The RT Hon Alok Sharma MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to those working in manufacturing and industry in the UK.

"At this unprecedented time for the UK I want to pay tribute to you for the work you are doing to keep the UK economy going.


As you know, the Government’s priority is saving lives and we have advised that where possible, people should stay at home and work from home.

However, our country needs your support to keep supply chains moving and key workers mobile, as well as to protect the economy as much as possible. Every business has a role to play in helping the country defeat coronavirus.

Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and I would like to be clear that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules."

Read the full letter here


Coronavirus Guides for Business:

You can find two guides here for businesses looking for answers and guidance on a number of things:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Survival Guide: Employment Support For Businesses

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Survival Guide: Financial Support Schemes For Businesses

Please get in touch with any member of our team or call 0141 280 0272 with any questions at all. 


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.


2 April 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is today (Friday 3 April) taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.

  • Current loan scheme extended so more small businesses can benefit
  • lenders banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000
  • new scheme announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans
  • Chancellor emphasises importance of banks moving quickly to support the economy, jobs and businesses

 Find out more about the CBILS and how to apply.


25 March 2020

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.


24 March 2020

Grant support (see local infomation above) is now available to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of these one-off grants is to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery.


23 March 2020:

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed that following health advice was "not optional".  Ms Sturgeon called on shops which do not provide essentials such as food or medicine to close. Further update here on latest Scottish Coronavirus deaths

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.  

UK Government announcement 20 March 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months.

Deferral of VAT for 3 months - VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months (until 30 June 2020). This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. Self-employed will get full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - a new scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable small and medium sized businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5m, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses and with no interest due for the first twelve months. Those loans will now be available on Monday 23rdMarch.

Time to Pay upscaled - a dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

Government backed and guaranteed loans – there will be an initial £330bn to support companies in the form of government-backed loans for any business who needs access to cash, with more capacity as required.

* Further fiscal measures are expected in coming days. There may be some variations to the measures announced among devolved nations - we will continue to update as quickly as possible.

 


£2.2 billion for business

The Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues: we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost to the latest sources of information.

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

The £2.2 billion package of support for business supersedes the £320 million package announced on 14 March and includes an additional £1.9 billion of increased support following the Chancellor’s announcement on 17 March.


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. 

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way for business to find the information they need in relation to Covid-19 (24/7)