Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): RESTRICTIONS FUND OPEN

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Eligibility and how to apply for a share of the £40 million fund to support businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

As we know, temporary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus came into effect from Friday 9 October.

The new restrictions are backed by a new support fund of up to £40 million for business and harnessing the existing UK Job Retention Scheme.

The new support fund of up to £40 million

The Scottish Government have earmarked up to £40 million to support employees and businesses impacted by these restrictions consistent with their established commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): fair work statement.

The Scottish Government worked with the STUC, employer organisations and HMRC to create a system to deliver targeted support to employees, recognising that employers are now liable for 20% of salary costs for furloughed workers. 

In addition, the Scottish Government committed to provide support to businesses closed or impacted by these new restrictions. In order to do this the Scottish Government worked with business and sector representative organisations to provide additional support flexibly through a new £11 million contingency fund for businesses that need support but do not fall into the above categories.

These new and temporary business support funds will be administered by Local Authorities, providing one-off grants to businesses very directly impacted by the restrictions implemented on 9 October 2020. 

A COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will be available to hospitality and other businesses required to close (except for takeaway) by these new regulations. It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of under £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV over £51,000.  An upper limit of £15,000 in total will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

At the same time, Local Authorities invite applications for a business hardship fund –  with payments of £1,000 or  £1500, dependent on Rateable Value –   to  support businesses that remain open but are still significantly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close.  An upper limit of £10,000 will apply in total to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

As there is a finite budget available for this support, the Scottish Government wish to do all they can to minimise the risk of applications exceeding the funding available.  Therefore they will target the first round of applications on:

  • hospitality businesses and some gyms, required by these new regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a minimum 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period
  • producers/wholesale businesses based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a minimum 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period

For clarity, retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for these closure or hardship funds.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this support you must meet the following criteria. 

For the business closure fund you must be a hospitality or other business  required by law to close under these new restrictions.  

For the discretionary business hardship fund you must be:

  • a hospitality business and some gyms, required by the regulations to operate in a restricted way
  • a producer/wholesale business based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period

If your business operates multiple premises you can apply for grants for each premise, applying only once to the local authority in which your business is headquartered. The maximum any one business can receive will be restricted, regardless of the number of premises: the upper limit for the  business closure fund is £15,000; the upper limit for business hardship fund is £10,000.

Your businesses must have been open and trading before 9 October.

You must have a business bank account. This is the account your grant will be paid into if your application is successful.

Your business premises must be registered for Non-Domestic rates. Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly to a Council are eligible to apply (evidence to be provided through copy of lease agreement). 

Businesses which have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions are not eligible to apply. 

Businesses with connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, are not eligible to apply.

Applications are welcome from Limited Companies, Sole Traders, Trusts and Partnerships provided they meet the other criteria. 

Retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for these closure or hardship funds.

How to apply

The Scottish Government are worked with Local Authorities to prepare and finalise all the administrative arrangements required to ensure efficient and effective application, processing, payment and appeal arrangements –  and access to the information and advice you may need.

Local authority websites were updated at 9 am on Tuesday 20th October, allowing business to complete applications.

Applications will close on Tuesday 3rd November at 5 pm.

Local Authorities will prioritise processing of applications with a view to making as many decisions as possible within the brake period while restrictions are in place.  Local authorities will ensure any payment is made within 3 working days of notifying you of their decision.

Local authority websites will provide information on appeal arrangements.

Read more information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Restrictions Fund