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COVID-19 support and financial assistance for businesses and communities

Support and financial assistance available to businesses and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Support from the Scottish and UK Government

The Find Business Support website is being updated daily with information on funding and guidance from Government so please remember to check it regularly and sign-up for the email bulletins.  

Funds and support available

  • New 11 June: Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund Round 2 will provide emergency funding to help performing arts venues remain solvent during the pandemic. It will also provide support for the return of staff from furlough and new artistic commissions from freelance artists. 

  • New 10 June: Scotland Can Do - Unlocking Ambition round 3 is now open for applications. Up to 40 company founders will be selected to be part of Scotland’s flagship business growth and leadership programme. UA3 provides advice and mentoring, a world-class programme of leadership development and grant funding. The programme is delivered by Scottish Enterprise and available to organisations across all of Scotland.

  • New 10 June: Culture Organisations and Venues Fund Round 2 is now open. Its purpose is to further support those who received funding in round 1 and also those who have not yet had funding. The fund is intended to support organisations which are vital to the cultural life of Scotland and need financial support to prevent insolvency and/or significant job losses due to COVID-19.

  • 01 June: VisitScotland Destination and Sector Marketing Fund This £3 million fund is open to applications from destination and sectoral groups across Scotland. The Fund will operate across three tiers. 

    Tier one: City Region Award Programme 
    Awards between £50,000 - £100,000 
    Applications close at 3pm 29 June 2021 

    Tier two: Pan-Scotland Sector Groups & Regional Destination Organisations 
    Awards between £40,000 - £80,000
    Applications close at 3pm 13 July 2021 

    Tier three: Local Destination Organisations, Marketing Groups & non-Pan-Scotland Sector Groups 
    Awards between £10,000 - £20,000 
    Applications close at 3pm 23 July

    Please see the guidance document for full details on eligibility requirements for each tier and apply on VisitScotland's website.

  • 03 May: The Market and Festival Attendance Fund is being delivered through Screen Scotland. During this period of COVID-related restrictions on travel, the Market and Festivals Fund will only be open for writers, directors and producers taking part in online events. Whilst this means that costs for travel and accommodation cannot be included in an application, costs such as accreditation and access costs including childcare are eligible. 

    There are no deadlines, however, decisions will take up to four weeks from the date your application is received. 

  • 28 April: Self Isolation Support Grants available for low-income workers in Scotland who must self-isolate. 
  • Updated 26 April: Marine Fund Scotland is open for applications. If you previously submitted an expression of interest, you will receive a response. This fund supports investments and jobs in seafood sectors, the marine environment and coastal communities in Scotland. It replaces the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) following the UK’s exit from the EU. 
  • Update 20 April: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 30 September 2021. Find out more about how the scheme is changing. Claims for furlough days in March 2021 must be made by 14 April 2021. You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
  • Updated 14 April: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme If you are eligible for the fourth grant in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, you will be contacted by HMRC soon with your personal application date. A fifth and final SEISS grant has also been announced. This grant will cover May to September 2021 and those eligible can apply from late July 2021.
  • Updated 14 April: Deferral of VAT payments due to COVID-19 Find out how to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020. You can pay now or join the VAT deferral new payment scheme.
  • Updated 07 April: Temporary Restrictions Fund for Childcare Providers Round 3 of this funding specifically targets the school-age childcare sector in the light of prolonged restrictions on their services due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Applications for round 3 are now open. The fund closes on 04 May 2021.
  • Updated 05 April: Business Rates Relief The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates relief discounts to help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19. The rates relief is available to non-domestic properties from 01 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will have their relief extended for at least an additional three months.
  • Updated 25 March: COVID-19 Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund If you are a licensed taxi or private hire driver experiencing financial challenge as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £1,500. If you are eligible for a grant your local authority will get in touch with you, starting from week commencing 18 January 2021.  You do not need to contact them.
  • 24 March: £25 million for tourism recovery has been announced by the Scottish Government. Holiday vouchers, discounts for days out and a marketing fund are included in a new £25 million tourism recovery programme. The programme, which has been developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in partnership with businesses, will support the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce objectives. Further details on the allocation of funds will be set out in due course.
  • 23 March: Scotland's Creative Digital Initiative is a new £1 million digital support programme for creative and cultural businesses. It's been established to provide support to creative and cultural businesses to help them develop their digital capabilities in response to the limitations imposed by Covid-19. Focused on the needs of SMES and micro-businesses, it builds on some existing programmes of support as well as providing grants to enable organisations and businesses to invest in skills and resources. 
  • New 15 March: Support for recruiting and training employees If you are 25 and over and are facing redundancy or are unemployed, you can get training for industry recognised qualifications. The National Transition Training Fund will help you train in areas of expected growth such as sustainable green jobs.
  • New 11 March: Connecting Scotland is a collaboration between Scottish Government, Local Government and the Third Sector, with SCVO as lead delivery partner, developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides data, training, support and devices, so that the most vulnerable and digitally excluded people can access services and support and connect with friends and family.
  • Updated 05 March: Recovery Loan Scheme is now open until 31 December. This scheme ensures that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. 
  • Updated 04 March: Temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and hotel accommodation and attractions This fund is for VAT-registered businesses dealing in hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and attractions. Information about government legislating to extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT has been added. 
  • Updated 03 March: VAT Reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions If you’re a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions.
  • 03 March: Association of Independent Music Immediate Access Crisis Fund The AIM Immediate Access Crisis Fund provides hardship payments of up to £1,000 to freelancers and contractors in the independent music industry whose income has been severely affected due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This fund is currently paused in order to process applications. It will reopen if funds are still available. Check the AIM website for updates.
  • Updated 19 February: Island Equivalent Payment grants are available to island businesses on the same basis as offered through the Strategic Framework Business Fund to eligible mainland businesses while in Level 4, as well as the hospitality, retail and leisure top up payment.
  • 16 February: Business Rates Relief The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates relief discounts to help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of coronavirus. The rates relief is available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will have their relief extended for at least an additional three months.
  • Updated 11 February: Local Authority Discretionary Fund A £120m fund distributed by local authorities across Scotland to help with the short-term financial challenges being experienced by businesses. The fund was doubled from its original £60m to £120m as of 10 February 2021 to allow councils to respond further to local economic pressures.
  • 01 February: Flexible Workforce Development Fund Scottish SMEs can benefit from up to £5000 of online training to upskill and reskill their workforce through a new programme launched by The Open University in Scotland. Businesses are advised to make an application as soon as possible, as access to the fund will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Training contract will be agreed by July 2021 and will be delivered by March 2022.
  • Updated 01 February: Small Business Bonus Scheme was developed by the Scottish Government. It provides rates relief to help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19. You are eligible if the combined rateable value of all your business properties is £35,000 or less; and, the rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less. Relief rates vary depending on the rateable value.
  • 22 January: Creative Scotland Covid 19 Resource Directory To help members of Scotland's creative community who have been affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Creative Scotland have put together an A-Z list of relevant funding opportunities and other resources.
  • 21 January: Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme If you are a small or medium sized business, you may be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to Covid-19. The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work.
  • 18 January: Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship fund The Musicians' Union is offering grants of up to £200 from their £1 million Coronavirus Hardship Fund for members who are experiencing genuine and pressing hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
  • 15 January: Supreme Court Judgment in Covid-19 Insurance Claims The Supreme Court has issued a judgement on Friday 15 January which determines that business interruption claims arising out of COVID-19 will, subject to policy wording, be valid claims under relevant contracts of insurance. If you think you may be covered by such insurance now is the time to review your insurance policy and to make contact with your insurers about a claim. 
  • Updated 04 December: Nursery rate relief extended until 2023 Qualifying day nurseries will continue to benefit from 100% relief on non-domestic rates until at least June 2023.
  • Updated 13 November: Flexible Workforce Development Fund helps businesses continue to invest in their workforce and for the first time is available for all of Scotland’s employers including levy payers and SMEs.
  • 13 October: Funding increase for businesses through Adopt an Apprentice Payments for employers recruiting apprentices who have lost their jobs is being increased from £2,000 to £5,000 through the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme.  
  • 08 October: The National Transition Training Fund will help people who have lost their jobs or who are at risk of redundancy as a result of coronavirus to develop the skills required to move into sectors with the greatest potential for future growth and job opportunities.
  • 25 September: Scottish Veterans Fund opens the £200,000 Scottish Veterans Fund is now open for bids from projects that improve the lives of former service personnel and their families. The 2020/21 fund, supported by the Scottish Government and Standard Life Aberdeen, will also consider projects that recognise the impact of COVID-19.
  • 21 August: Redundancy support – PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) is the Scottish Government's national strategic partnership framework for responding to redundancy situations. Free support and advice is available through Skills Development Scotland to help minimise the impact for people and businesses facing redundancy.

Closed funds  

Sources of funding made available during the COVID-19 pandemic which have now closed can be viewed here

Financial support for communities and the third sector

Find out what's available in our communities and third sector funding pages. 

Third sector and community funds


Keep up to date

Use the Find Business Support portal to keep up to date with all of the financial packages and support available for both businesses and third sector organisations.


Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub

The SCVO website is also regularly updated with official information for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

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