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Scottish Government Support for Business

The UK and Scottish Governments are supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption.

While elements of the package affecting Income Tax, Statutory Sick Pay and deferred VAT payments are reserved matters and applicable across the UK, key elements dealing with business support, health, education, transport and local government are all devolved to the Scottish Government.

Specific information for businesses and employers in  Scotland is available.

A new support finder tool has launched to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Business support helplines

HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people across the UK who are concerned about paying their tax due to Covid-19. You can now call them on 08000 241222. Opening hours are 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

If you run a business in Scotland you can also get advice by calling the Scottish Government’s helpline: 0300 303 0660. It is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm. Select option 1 to speak to the Covid-19 team. 

All Scottish businesses can benefit from these UK wide schemes:

HMRC has published guidance for businesses planning to claim the wages of furloughed employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (Covid-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay.

This is a temporary scheme in place for four months starting from 1st March 2020 although this may be extended.

Use the links below to check your eligibility and find out what information you'll need to make a claim. The online service where claims can be made opens Monday, 20th April.

HMRC Guidance: 

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - A step by step guide for employers.

Support for small and medium-sized businesses:

Support for larger businesses:

What is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank (BBB), launched on 23rd March 2020 to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The scheme was significantly expanded on 2nd April 2020:

  • No personal guarantees for facilities under £250k: Personal guarantees of any form cannot be taken under the scheme for any facilities below £250k.
  • Personal guarantees for facilities above £250k: Personal guarantees may still be required, at a lender’s discretion, but recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied. A Principal Private Residence (PPR) cannot be taken as security to support a personal guarantee or as security for a CBILS-backed facility.
  • Security: For all facilities, including those over £250,000, CBILS can now support lending to smaller businesses even where a lender considers there to be sufficient security, making more smaller businesses eligible to receive the business interruption payment

New eligibility criteria:

Smaller businesses from all sectors can apply for the full amount of the facility. To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, a smaller business must:

  • Be UK based in its business activity, with turnover of no more than £45m per year.
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender.
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. There are a number of accredited providers in all with more being added. Businesses wishing to apply for this scheme should approach the lenders directly. 

The BBB has communicated that these changes should be retrospectively applied by lenders for any CBILS facilities offered since 23rd March 2020. For any commercial (non-CBILS) facilities offered since the same date, providing the borrower meets the CBILS eligibility criteria, lenders have been asked to bring these facilities onto CBILS wherever possible (e.g. where the lender is accredited to offer the same facility through CBILS) and changes retrospectively applied as necessary.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

A second scheme is due to launch later this month providing a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m. We expect this scheme to launch during April and will update you once further details are known. 

Support for the self-employed:

Scottish Government support for businesses and helpful links

The Scottish Government has announced a package of measures worth £2.2 billion to support Scottish businesses.

Changes have been made to business rates in Scotland for 2020/21 along with extra rates relief.

Businesses in Scotland can apply to the Business Support Fund for a grant to help them deal with the impact of the outbreak.

Business can use the Scottish Enterprise business support finder to find out what is available to them.

Find Business Support (FBS) is part of a joint response by Scotland’s Enterprise and Skills System (agencies, local authorities, Scottish Government and business/industry organisations) and provides a regularly updated one-stop-shop for business advice relating to Covid-19.

Scottish Government has introduced a helpline to handle urgent issues and more detailed questions that can’t be answered on the above FBS site (13th March 2020).

Business Gateway provides regularly updated help for business owners and their employees to find information on how to deal with concerns about coronavirus (Covid-19) in the workplace.

SPICe FAQs on support for businesses, including Non-Domestic Rates relief and grants (15th April 2020).

Scottish Government new measures to protect business tenants (10th April 2020).

Transport Scotland information on coronavirus (Covid-19) impact on transport.

UK Government coronavirus (Covid-19): MOTs for cars, vans and motorcycles due from 30th March 2020.

UK Department for Transport guidance on drivers’ hours relaxations (20th March 2020).