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 available

  • New 22 January: Finance Secretary update on COVID-19 support. Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has written to businesses to provide an update on support during the pandemic.
  • New 22 January: The Sector and Destination Operational and Market Readiness Fund will help Scottish tourism sector groups and destination organisations prepare for a post-COVID-19 environment. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 26 January.
  • New 18 January: Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Programme A new virtual leadership, management and supervisory skills training programme is scheduled to take place in February 2021 to aid the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry in Scotland post COVID-19. Applications close 5 February 2021. This programme is funded by Scottish Government, and is being administered by HIT Scotland. There will be 975 places available for this programme, with 13 groups of 25 people able to take part in each of the three categories - Supervisor, Manager, Leader. Read the guidance document to see whose eligible and how to apply. 
  • 18 January: 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.
  • 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 14 January: UK Government digital support and webinars to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus. A video about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension was added on 14 January.
  • Updated 11 January: Support for leisure, retail and hospitality businesses has been increased through the Strategic Framework Business Fund. If your business is required to close by law or to significantly change its operations due to COVID-19 restrictions, you can apply for grant funding. In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one-off grant.

    Hospitality businesses: £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000 or £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000.
    Retail and leisure businesses: £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000 or £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000.

    In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up. For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payments for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January. Check if you're eligible.
  • Updated 11 January: Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Claim for some of your employee’s wages if you have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The deadline for employers to claim for furlough days in December 2020 is 14 January.
  • Updated 05 January: Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers has reopened to applicants.
  • Updated 17 December: The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. CBILS has been significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme’s features and eligibility criteria. The changes mean even more smaller businesses across the UK impacted by COVID-19 can access the funding they need. You can find a useful step-by-step guide here on how to apply for CBILS support. The scheme has now been extended to 31 March 2021.
  • 10 December: New Funding for Live Theatre & Dance Performances From 10 December, applications are invited from the dance, theatre and multi-artform sector for a share in £600K National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland, for live performance tours from Spring 2021. The deadline for applications is Friday 05 February 2021. 
  • Updated 07 December: Small Business Bonus Scheme The 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 coronavirus. 
  • 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.
  • Published 02 December: Apprenticeship Employer Grant a new Apprenticeship Employer Grant has been made available to further support employers when taking on modern or graduate apprentices within their business. Funding of between £3,500 and £5,000 is available for placements starting on or after 21 December 2020 and is available for starts up to 31 March 2021 or before if the funding is exceeded prior to that date. 
  • Updated 24 November: Third round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens 30 November. The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
  • 23 November: Covid-19 Residential Outdoor Education Centre Recovery Fund is open to third and private sector centres that have been financially impacted by the Covid-19. The fund will be administered by the charity YouthLink Scotland. Applications for essential running costs are invited between 23 November and 11 December 2020. Applications for funding to support outdoor learning in and around schools will open on 11 Jan 2021 until 05 Feb 2021.
  • 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.

  • Updated 02 November: Apply for the coronavirus Futures Fund The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The fund is open to applicants until 31 January 2021.
  • Updated 23 October: Grants for businesses Details of grants available to businesses as part of Scotland’s refreshed strategic approach to suppressing COVID-19 have been published. From 02 November, firms that are required by law to close will be eligible for grants every four weeks for as long as the restrictions last. 
  • 18 October: Independent market insights: COVID-19 market research Following the impacts of COVID-19, market reports can help you keep on top of the rapidly changing consumer and business environment. Scottish companies can contact Scottish Enterprise to request free tailored extracts from a selection of commercial research reports. 
  • 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.  
  • 13 October: Self-Isolation Support Grant now open Applications for the Self-Isolation Support Grant have opened for low income workers who are asked to self-isolate and would lose income if they needed to isolate. 
  • 09 October: Helpline for Scottish organisations in the event of a cyber-attack In partnership with Scottish Government and Police Scotland, SBRC has launched the UK’s first cyber incident response helpline for the SME community and the third sector to help victims of cybercrime understand what support is immediately available to them and help them recover. 
  • 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.
  • 02 October: What to do if you can't pay your tax bill on time Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed your payment. How you contact HMRC depends on what you need to pay.
  • 25 September: Deferral of VAT payments due to COVID-19 On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.
  • 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.
  • 17 September: Youth Arts Access Fund The overall £3m Youth Arts Fund has largely been provided to enhance the existing Youth Music Initiative programme managed by Creative Scotland. 
  • 16 September: UK Government extends support to stop business evictions this year Commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020 helping businesses to protect jobs.
  • New 11 September: COVID-19 Scottish Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund If you run a zoo or aquarium in Scotland and are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to apply for a 0% unsecured loan or grant of up to £100,000 to pay for three months of animal care costs.
  • 08 September: Business Gateway has a new podcast series called Connections. It aims to explore the challenges businesses face as a result of COVID-19. The discussion with business owners and Business Gateway advisers tackles issues including restructuring and diversification, maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing and managing furloughed staff, redundancies and flexible working.
  • 02 September: UK Government's Kickstart Scheme opens for employer applications As part of the UK government’s Plan for Jobs, a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across Scotland, England and Wales. The 6 month placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions. The first placements are likely to be available from November but employers can apply now. You can also find someone to apply on your behalf.
  • 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.
  • 18 August: Superfast broadband voucher scheme Details of a voucher scheme to help ensure everyone in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2021 has been announced. The Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme will provide funding of up to £5,000 to help homes and businesses not in scope of either Reaching 100% contracts or planned commercial investment to obtain superfast broadband where providers may not ordinarily go.
  • 31 July: The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for each previously furloughed employee still employed through to 31 January 2021
  • Updated 21 July: 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.
  • 17 July: £1 million available through new Agricultural Transformation Programme to help farmers diversify into forestry.
  • 17 July: Agriculture loan scheme launches the loan aims to maintain cash flow for farmers and crofters during COVID-19.
  • 09 July: Get support through the Recovery Advice for Business scheme Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from COVID-19. 
  • Published 28 May: Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to COVID-19 
  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland
  • An initial package of more than £5m for the fishing industry to help more than 650 vulnerable seafood fishing vessels
  • £10m scheme will provide financial support for seafood processors.
  • £3.5m fund is now open for the over 12m fishing fleet
  • Business support tool The UK Government has launched a new tool to help businesses more easily find what financial support is available to them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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