Support for Businesses - Financial Assistance

Financial assistance

An overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

Additional £40 million of support for key sectors

The Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund has been increased by £40 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the Scottish economy.

This extra funding will be split between the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, which has increased by £30 million to £120 million, and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, which has increased by £10 million to £30 million. Both funds closed to applications on 18 May. 

Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the Chancellor announced today (Tuesday 12 May 2020).

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
  • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
  • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

Read the full announcement here.

The second phase of the Small Business Grant scheme – which extends grant support to all subsequent eligible properties - is now open for applications.

The second phase of the Small Business Grant scheme ensures that - in addition to existing grants of £10,000 or £25,000 for the first property - businesses may now qualify for grants of £7,500 or £18,750 on all subsequent eligible premises.

In addition, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a rateable value up to £18,000 that do not qualify for the Small Business Bonus Scheme, may now qualify for Small Business Grants.

The Small Business Grant Scheme is being administered by local authorities. Businesses can get information on how to apply via their local council. 

Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders. You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

More information and a link to apply can be found here.

£100m Business Support Fund opening this afternoon (30 April) - details, criteria and how to apply

This grant funding has been divided into three distinct funds.   

  • The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund – a £45m fund for viable but vulnerable SME firms who are vital to Scotland’s economy
  • The Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund – a £20m fund for small creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of COVID-19 business rates relief
  • The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund – a £35m fund for newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants

Full information about the eligibility criteria for the funds can be found here

Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise will deliver both the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, with support from Creative Scotland and VisitScotland. Companies will be able to apply here

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund will be delivered by local authorities. Links to individual local authority applications are available via the website.

Getting the money to recipients is of critical importance and the enterprise agencies and current estimations are that the application process will take no more than ten working days and successful applicants will receive funds paid 100% upfront within that timeframe.  

Small businesses eligible for £50,000 'bounce-back loans' under new government scheme

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced on 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 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.

Full details here

Find coronavirus financial support for your business 

The UK Government has launched a new service to help you find UK-wide coronavirus financial support for your business. It covers most, but not all, business support available to businesses in Scotland. Keep looking here for the latest UK and Scottish Government updates 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs

Click here to download the newly updated FAQ covering what you need to know to get the best out of the furlough scheme including questions like:

  • What are the eligibility criteria for Employers?
  • What should Employers be aware of before using the HMRC portal?
  • TOP TIPS: How can I make the Scheme work for my business?  

With many thanks to our affiliate member Greenburn HR and Advisory Service.

£100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs

The Scottish Government has announced a £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs. It will be broken into three separate funds which will help a range of vulnerable SME businesses, those who are newly self-employed and creative, tourism and hospitality enterprises. There will be a £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. Further details here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online portal goes live today

  • Government’s furlough scheme opens for applications today - 10 days ahead of schedule
  • employers can now go online to claim cash grants worth up to 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker
  • 5000 HMRC staff will operate the scheme – which is expected to help thousands of firms across the UK

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live today, 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.

To make a claim click here.

More information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to end of June

The scheme was originally open for three months and backdated from the 1 March to the end of May but is now extended to the end of June. Following on from last week’s announcement to keep the social distancing measures in place, Rishi Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would now be open until the end of June. Future decisions on the scheme will take into account further developments on the wider measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus, as well as the responsible management of the public finances.

For more information click here.


HMRC has provided more detail about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, namely that it can now cover the costs of employees as long as they were on the payroll by 19 March. The previous date was 28 February, but it has been extended to capture employees who started their jobs nearer the time the lockdown restrictions came in. More details can be found here.

HMRC advise that it is likely to be live week commencing 20 April. Click here for a useful webinar with all the information and details you will need to make a claim. 

New support for businesses announced

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced that further grants in the region of £220m 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.
  • The new package of measures includes £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.

Further details are available here.

Support for aquaculture

Aquaculture businesses threatened by the effects of COVID-19 can now get financial support from the Scottish Government.

Hardship payments of up to £27,000 are being made available for around 100 businesses which make a full time living from shellfish growing and trout farming.

Further details are available here.

Support for coast businesses announced

Coastal businesses and third sector organisations affected by COVID-19 can now benefit from a £7.2 million Scottish Crown Estate fund which is devolved to councils.

The 26 councils in Scotland who have coastlines can use their remaining share of the fund which they have not yet allocated to offer direct support to struggling coastal enterprises and organisations, after agreement by the Scottish Government and COSLA. Details of how the funds will be administered are not yet available.

Seafood processors in Scotland can now apply for support through the new £10 million Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund

Shellfish and seafood processing businesses will receive immediate priority for consideration. Funding will be available to those businesses who have/are suffering severe hardship. 

The support, which will go towards meeting the businesses’ fixed costs, will be administered as quickly as possible to enable owners to continue to operate or to remain closed but keep their business afloat until they are able to being production. Click here for further details and application forms. 

Notice period for commercial leases extended from 14 days to 14 weeks

The notice period before a commercial lease can be terminated for non-payment of rent has been extended, as part of new measures to help businesses introduced in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act. Previously commercial tenants served with a warning letter for non-payment of rent would have 14 days to pay outstanding rent.

This period has now been increased to 14 weeks. It applies to all commercial property leases, including those where a warning notice has already been issued and has not already expired.

More financial news:

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund 

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have launched a £5million fund to help young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The fund is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-30, who can apply for grants and tailored support to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers.

To be eligible, businesses must have started up in the last four years and be run by someone aged 18 to 30. To apply for funding and support from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund, click here.  

Update: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC has updated guidance on how to claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The online service is not available yet, but it is expected to be available by the end of April 2020. Click here to read the latest guidance.

Business-led innovation in response to global disruption (de minimis)

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million to respond to new and urgent needs in UK and global communities during and following the Covid-19 pandemic. Food manufacture and processing are eligible. The grant competition opened on Friday 3rd and closes Friday 17th April. You can claim 100% of your project costs up to the maximum of £50,000. These will be paid in advance of the project start date. For more information click here.

Farm payment schemes

Around 7,000 specialist beef producers will benefit from payments worth around £40 million in the coming weeks. A further 469 convergence payments worth £768,500 have also been processed this week, mainly for new entrants to farming.Read the full announcement here.

£10 million to support seafood sector

The Scottish Government has just made a very welcome announcement of a £10 million fund for the seafood sector. The full detail of the announcement is here.

Redundancy support service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19. Advice is available at or by calling 0800 917 8000.

New support for the self-employed

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor, has announced (Thu 26 Mar) a £3bn-a-month package of support for up to 3.8m self-employed workers hit by the fallout of Coronavirus. The scheme will pay a cash grant worth 80% of average monthly trading profit over the past three years capped at £2,500 a month, benefiting 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

The Treasury said the scheme would be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Mr Sunak stated that the plan might not be up and running until early June. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply. In the interim, self-employed individuals may be eligible for universal credit. Answers to FAQs regarding this can be found here.

The UK Government has published further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

It is unclear whether HMRC intends to rely on this guidance only, or whether there will be actual legislation. There is still no detail on the mechanics of the payment. For a summary of the details which have been given click here.

£320 million package of support for businesses

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland have been announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. The full details of the announcement is here.