03 Aug 2021 14:59

Some protective measures will stay in place.

The legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings will be removed on 9 August when all venues across Scotland are able to re-open.

Some protective measures will stay in place such as the use of face coverings indoors and the collection of contact details as part of Test and Protect. Capacity limits of 2000 people indoors and 5000 people outdoors will also remain in place although some exceptions may be possible on a case by case basis. These will be reviewed on a three weekly basis to ensure they remain proportionate.

Adults identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will also no longer be automatically required to self-isolate for 10 days from 9 August. Anyone who is double-vaccinated with at least two weeks passed since their second dose and who has no symptoms will be able to end self-isolation if they return a negative PCR test. The same conditions will also apply to anyone aged between five and 17 years old, even if they have not been vaccinated. The requirement to take a PCR test will not apply to children under the age of five.

Test and Protect will also implement revised guidance for under 18s. This means that the blanket isolation of whole classes in schools will no longer happen and a targeted approach, that only identifies children and young people who are higher risk close contacts, will be adopted. Fewer young people will have to self-isolate, and most will be asked to self-isolate for a much shorter period of time. To allow time to monitor the impacts of these changes, the majority of the mitigations that were in place in schools in the previous term will be retained for up to six weeks. This will help support a safe and sustainable return to education after the summer break.

While the gateway condition on vaccination has been met, with 92% of those over the age of 40 protected by two doses of the vaccine, there are still many more people who have not had the vaccine, cannot have it, or are not yet eligible for it. Invitations for vaccines are now going out to 12 to 17 year olds with specific health conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid. This follows the recent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. We expect to have offered first doses to this group by the end of August.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The move beyond level 0 will entail the lifting of most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions - most notably, on physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings. It also means that from 9 August, no venues will be legally required to close.

“This change is significant and it is hard-earned. The sacrifices everyone has made over the past year and a half can never be overstated. However, while this move will restore a substantial degree of normality, it is important to be clear that it does not signal the end of the pandemic or a return to life exactly as we knew it before Covid struck.

“Declaring freedom from, or victory over, this virus is in my view premature. The harm the virus can do, including through the impact of long Covid, should not be underestimated. And its ability to mutate may yet pose us real challenges.”


Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister's statement – 3 August 2021

Further detail about measures announced today and updated guidance for the education sector will be published shortly.

Further guidance will be provided to businesses to help them adopt measures to mitigate risks, including ensuring good ventilation; maintaining good hand hygiene; practising respiratory hygiene; getting vaccinated; and continuing to engage with Test and Protect.

Some baseline measures will remain in place:

  • it will continue to be the law, subject to exceptions, that face coverings must be worn in indoor public places and on public transport
  • Test & Protect will continue to contact-trace positive cases. To assist with this there will be a continued requirement for indoor hospitality and similar venues to collect the contact details of customers. Anyone who is required to self-isolate will, if eligible, continue to have access to support
  • we will work closely with local incident management teams on appropriate outbreak control measures
  • we will continue to use travel restrictions, as and when necessary, to restrict the spread of outbreaks and protect against the risk of importation of new variants
  • for now, we will continue to advise home working where possible, recognising that some staff will start to return to offices in line with staff wellbeing discussions and business need. we will encourage employers to consider for the longer term, as the Scottish Government is doing, a hybrid model of home and office working - which may, of course, have benefits beyond the need to control a virus
  • we will, for a limited period, keep in place a gateway process through which organisers of outdoors events of more than 5000 and indoor events of more than 2000 will have to apply for permission. This will allow us and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk
  • we will continue to issue appropriate guidance to assist individuals and businesses to reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible, such as rigorous hygiene, including regular hand washing



Initial Summary of First Minister Announcement today (16.03.21):

2 April:

  • lifting the ‘Stay at Home’ requirement and replacing it with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period)

5 April:

  • the resumption of outdoor contact sport for 12-17 year olds
  • return of college students within the top three priority groups identified by Colleges Scotland as most likely not to complete this academic year (estimated as 29% of learners)
  • reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
  • extending the list of retail permitted to include:
    ° garden centres (indoor and outdoor)
    ° key cutting shops ° mobility equipment shops
    ° baby equipment shops
    ° electrical repair shops
    ° hairdressers and barbers (with shopfronts – not mobile services), by appointment only
    ° homeware shops
    ° vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts

*The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

12/19 April, depending on term times:

  • all children back to school full-time

26 April:

Assuming the data allows it, SG expect a more significant reopening of the economy and society from 26 April. This will likely include the following easings:

  • extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
  • allowing 12-17 year olds to meet outdoors in groups of 6 from up to 6 households
  • travel within all of mainland Scotland permitted (subject to other restrictions that remain in place)
  • remaining shops can reopen and mobile close contact services can resume
  • gyms can reopen for individual exercise
  • tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
  • work in people’s homes to resume • driving lessons to resume
  • weddings and funerals for up to 50 (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
  • libraries, museums, galleries re-open
  • outdoor hospitality to open till 22:00 with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 20:00
  • social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to current maximum of 4 people from up to 2 households The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

17 May:

From 17 May, SG hope to introduce the following easings:

  • re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
  • further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 22:30 indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 22:00 outdoors with alcohol permitted
  • adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
  • cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open
  • small scale indoor and outdoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (to be confirmed following stakeholder engagement)
  • colleges and universities can return to a more blended model of learning
  • more in-person (face-to-face) support services can resume
  • non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors

Business Support:

  • on 22 March, one final four-weekly payment of the SFBF, with no new claims permitted
  • on 19 April, all SFBF recipients automatically given a combined two-week supplement and a one-off restart grant: up to £7,500 for eligible retail premises; and up to £19,500 for eligible hospitality and leisure The infrastructure for the SFBF will be retained and used as required in future for business support linked to any local outbreaks


  • Discussing with the aviation sector this week what conditions would need to be met to restart nonessential travel to some international destinations again. Like the UK Government, SG are certain that this won’t be possible before 17 May and maybe for some time after. Even when overseas travel does resume, SG say that it is very likely that pre-departure and post-arrival testing will remain in place for some time to come. Will be kept under close review.
  • Ban on non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the wider Common Travel Area (CTA) (i.e. the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) will also be kept on review, with a view to relaxing the ban – or targeting it only on travel to and from particular areas in the rest of the CTA – when it becomes safe to do so.

15.03.21: West Dunbartonshire

The Small Accommodation Providers paying Council Tax Fund (SAP-CTF) – designed to support eligible B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering accommodation that are not on Non Domestic Rates, but pay Council Tax is now live and online applications can be found here –

This fund has been introduced by the Scottish Government as a new package of sector specific support to help businesses closed or impacted by current protective measures and is part of the £104 million tourism and hospitality package announced in December 2020 -

A grant of £2,000 payable every 4 weeks will be available to eligible businesses, not on Non Domestic rates but paying council tax.  These payments will be 4 weekly, backdated to the start of January 2021, to cover the Level 4 restrictions which apply from 26th Dec 2020 lockdown period for the duration of level 4 restrictions, and no later than 31 March 2021. Please note this grant is not retrospectively backdated to 2nd November 2020.

To be eligible the business should have been trading on 2nd November 2020.

The fund will open to applications on 15 March and will close on 22 March 2021.


SME Brexit Support Fund is opening for applications later today – the Fund is targeted at SMEs who only trade with the EU, and provides grants to support professional advice around customs, excise, import VAT and safety/security declaration requirements.

  • The SME Brexit Support Fund is now open to applications.
  • The £20m SME Brexit Support Fund supports small and medium sized businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.
  • SMEs who trade only with the EU and are new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.
  • Businesses can use the grant for training on how to complete customs declarations; how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems; and specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin.
  • Businesses can also use the grant to help get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.
  • Businesses must be established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status, and not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations. They must also have no more than 500 employees and no more than £100 million turnover. Businesses must import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and also either complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods or use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export.
  • This announcement follows extensive engagement with individual businesses, leading business organisations and trade associations from across all parts of the UK
  • The fund will be administered by PwC through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme.
  • Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.


Scotland's Roadmap Out of Lockdown: Phased Approach announced by First Minister 

Phase 1 (yesterday) early learning and childcare and schools open for Primary 1-3 pupils and senior phase pupils for essential practical work. Limited increase in the provision for vulnerable children. Care homes opening to facilitate meaningful contact between relatives/ friends and residents.

Phase 2 (unlikely before 15 March) - More school reopening - Non-contact outdoor group sports for 12-17 year olds. Socialising rules eased, to allow outdoor meetings of 4 people from 2 households.

Phase 3 - (at least three weeks later - possibly 5 April) Stay-at-Home requirement removed. Third and final phase of schools reopening if required. Places of worship can open on a restricted numbers basis. Essential retailers list expanded slightly and click-and-collect resumes for non-essential retail.

Phase 4 - possibly 26 April) Limited other easing within Level 4, including permitting non-essential work in people’s homes. Return to variable Levels approach. This will enable the graduated opening up of economic and social activity.

More Help for Self-Assessment Taxpayers

Self Assessment taxpayers will not be charged a 5% late payment penalty if they pay their tax or set up a payment plan by 1 April, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.

The payment deadline for Self Assessment is 31 January and interest is charged from 1 February on any amounts outstanding. Normally, a 5% late payment penalty is also charged on any unpaid tax that is still outstanding on 3 March. But this year, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC is giving taxpayers more time to pay or set up a payment plan. 

Taxpayers can pay their tax bill or set up a monthly payment plan online at GOV.UK. They need to do this by midnight on 1 April to prevent being charged a late payment penalty.

The online Time to Pay facility allows taxpayers to spread the cost of their Self Assessment tax bill into monthly instalments until January 2022.

HMRC recognises the pressure affecting taxpayers due to the pandemic, and encourages anyone worried about paying their tax and unable to set up a payment plan online to contact HMRC for help and support on 0300 200 3822.

More than 97,260 customers have set up a self-serve Time to Pay arrangement online, totalling more than £367 million.


A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of:

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £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 payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January.

Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.

Ms Forbes said:  

“Since the start of the pandemic Scottish Government support for business and the economy has reached almost £3 billion - more than a third of our total coronavirus (COVID-19) funding, demonstrating our commitment to provide as much help as we possibly can to our businesses.

“As promised, this additional support for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses will be available this month, in some cases doubling or tripling the amount of support we are providing. Applications are open now and payment will be made this month.

“Crucially this essential funding will also help to close the gaps in UK wide support for these impacted sectors and our one-off support for larger hospitality premises of £25,000 is considerably more generous than the £9,000 grant on offer in England.

“I’d encourage all eligible businesses to apply through their local authority if they have not done so already. Of course we are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said:

“Shops and high streets across Scotland have been left reeling by coronavirus. These enhanced cash grants for retail business are a financial lifeline which will help non-essential stores through the current phase of being unable to open and trade.

“There isn’t a taxpayer-funded support scheme which can replace the potential losses of store closures, so it is very encouraging that the Finance Secretary has listened and responded positively.”


  • larger hospitality businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,001 or more
  • smaller hospitality businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less
  • larger retail and leisure businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,001
  • smaller retail and leisure businesses are those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less

For more information visit Find Business Support 



5th JANUARY 2021


Tough new lockdown restrictions forbidding people from leaving home for non-essential reasons have come into force across the Scottish mainland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the clampdown was necessary to contain the spread of the new strain of Covid-19.

People are now required by law to stay in their homes and to work from home.

Outdoor gatherings have been restricted to one-on-one meet-ups, and schools will close to most pupils until February at the earliest.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs on Monday that Scotland faced an "extremely serious" situation, with the new, faster-spreading variant of coronavirus "a massive blow".

Schools will remain closed to most pupils until at least the beginning of February.

The first minister has said she cannot guarantee when children will be allowed back in classrooms or when the latest lockdown restrictions will be lifted.

The new restrictions came into force at midnight and are, in effect, an enhancement to the level four curbs already in place across the mainland and Skye.

They will run until at least the end of January and could yet be extended both in scope and duration.

Scotland's island communities, with the exception of Skye, are to remain in level three for now, although Ms Sturgeon warned this would also remain under review.

New regulations mean Scots are prohibited from leaving their homes for anything other than "essential" purposes - although the law provides a lengthy list of examples of "reasonable excuses".

These include shopping for food or medical supplies, providing or accessing childcare, exercise, and participation in extended households.

Anyone who can do their job from home must do so, and people in the "shielding" category have been advised not to go out to work at all.


  • From this Friday the 20thof November at 6pm, 11 local authority areas in Scotland will be placed into Tier 4 of restrictions including East and West Dunbartonshire.

For the areas going into Tier 4, these measures will be in place from three weeks, as of Friday, and will expire on 11th December.

You can find a full list of what Tier 4 measures entail here - COVID protection level 4.

And more detail behind the Scottish Government’s criteria and rationale for its decision-making here - Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels

Travel restrictions

  • In addition, guidance on travel restrictions in Scotland will become law from Friday.
  • That means people living in level three or level four must not travel outside their own council area, except for certain essential purposes.
  • And those living elsewhere in Scotland must not travel to level three or level four areas, again apart from in limited exceptional circumstances.
  • There is to be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK.

Business support

  • The Scottish Government has announced that a new wave of cash grants of up to £3,000 will be made available for businesses impacted by restrictions.
  • There will be a new £30m discretionary fund for councils to provide extra business support where needed.
  • And a £15m fund in funding for newly self-employed people not able to access other support.

Current Support: Furlough, Closure and Business Restrictions

East Dunbartonshire:

West Dunbartonshire

Key Business Information:


Only essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4 providing they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff.


Click and collect, on-line services and outdoor retail, such as garden centres, outdoor markets and car lots, can also remain open.

Whilst retailers will implement procedures to ensure the safety of customers and staff it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they comply with the following guidance:

  • do not visit any retail premises if you have tested positive or have developed any of the COVID-19 symptoms
  • you must wear a face covering when you go into any retail premises including any indoor area of a shopping centre, unless exempt. Read the face covering policy
  • you must follow direction signs, one way systems and shop capacities if provided by a retail outlet
  • maintain a 2 metre physical distance between people not in your household (or extended household)
  • if shopping with others you must only do so from a maximum of 6 people from up to 2 different households (or extended households)
  • In order to keep transmission rates as low as possible you are also advised to:
  • avoid crowded shops. Try to avoid times when shops will be busy. If you do not think you can maintain social distancing in a shop, come back later
  • visit stores that are using infection control measures and use the available hand sanitiser
  • try to avoid touching goods unless you intend to buy them
  • be polite. Please ensure that you are considerate to retail staff and abide by their guidance and instructions including removing face covering if requested for proof of age
  • shop local and do not travel further than necessary to visit stores
  • be patient – shopping may take longer than you may be used to and you may need to queue for longer as a result. Please do not smoke when queuing outside shops
  • you should only use public transport for essential shopping where it is not possible in your local council area – you should use on-line shopping or shops, banks and other services in your local area wherever you can

Get help: If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are self-isolating, or are vulnerable or shielding and you need essential items like food or medicine you should request assistance from friends, family, community support groups, make an online order, or call the National Helpline on 0800 111 4000.

Offices, call centres and other workplaces

People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable.

Businesses which provide essential services can continue to operate, such as those in Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector (CNI) sector, courts and tribunals. There are 13 designated CNI sectors including agriculture and food production, activity to maintain the food supply chain, energy and transport.

Not all CNI activity will be essential. Those operations which can be done effectively through home working should be adopted.

Outdoor workplaces, construction, manufacturing, veterinary services and film and TV production can also remain open. They should plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.

Home visits by contractors should only be for essential services.


Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed. Sectors guidance is at: sector guidance for tourism and hospitality

Takeaways can still operate as normal, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.

Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e. key or exempt workers, staying in their premises up to 22:00. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal.

Close contact retail services

Close contact services and mobile close contact service providers must not operate in Level 4.  Read more: Read more: Guidance for close contact services

Close contact services includes:

  • hairdressing and barbers
  • beauty and nail services (including make-up)
  • hair removal
  • tattoo, piercing and body modification
  • fashion design, dress-fitting and tailoring
  • indoor portrait photography
  • massage therapies
  • complementary and alternative medicine services requiring physical contact or close physical proximity between persons, but not osteopathy and chiropractic services
  • spa and wellness services
  • other services or procedures which require physical contact or close physical proximity between a provider and a customer and are not ancillary to medical, health, or social care services


Leisure and entertainment

All leisure and entertainment premises must be closed (except for use in limited circumstances).

Film and TV production can continue to take place. All such activity must be done in compliance with industry guidance.



All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism.  Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:

  • anyone who is using that accommodation for work purposes
  • anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral
  • anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless
  • anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence
  • anyone who needs accommodation while moving home
  • anyone who is unable to return to their main residence

When providing accommodation to workers, this should only be open for essential workers who require accommodation as part of their role. Workers accommodation guidance.

Breaching the restrictions in the Regulations is a criminal offence, unless you have a “reasonable excuse” for doing so. This means that accommodation providers may offer accommodation to customers in other circumstances provided it is an essential purpose. An example of this would be where someone needs accommodation for an essential hospital visit.

In line with Competition and Markets Authority guidance, a full refund should be offered to customers who booked holiday homes, but could not stay in them due to lockdown restrictions.  The regulation of consumer protection is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster. The Competition and Markets Authority has issued guidance to businesses and consumers about refunds

Travel and transport

Travel restrictions will be put into law on 20 November to further enforce the current guidance that restricts people who live in a Level 3 or Level 4 local authority area from travelling outside their local authority except for an essential purpose - such as work or caring responsibilities.

The regulations also prevent non-essential travel into a Level 3 or 4 local authority area, except for the same reasons.

See: travel and transport guidance.





- Scotland will move beyond Level 0 next Monday
- A Number of mitigation measures will remain in place
- Self-isolation requirements for close contacts will be changing
- Update on COVID-19 statistics - generally positive: populations and ICU admissions due to COVID-19 are decreasing
- First Minister highlights cautious approach and vaccination milestones that have been met, have exceeded Scottish Government’s expectations
- There is still more to do, uptake for 18–29-year-olds needs to be better, deploying drop in centres.
- 12–17-year-olds with underlying health conditions are now receiving invites to get a vaccine.
- Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will soon share advice on other people in this age group, Scottish Government also ready to deploy vaccine booster programme for the autumn if okayed by JCVI

- All limits on physical distancing and limits on social gatherings will be lifted
- No venues will legally be required to close
- First Minister stressed that this does not signal end of pandemic or return to life before COVID. Highlights risk of new variants.
- Will continue to be the law that face coverings must be worn in all settings that they are now, likely to remain in place for some time but will be kept under review.
- Hospitality and indoor venues will still be required to collect customer details for Test and Protect.
- While office return can now go ahead, Scottish Government will continue to advise working from home where possible, Scottish Government will encourage hybrid model and very much a phased return.
- Scottish Government will, for a limited period, keep in place the current processes of applying for permission for large scale events.
- Regular hygiene and ventilation will remain essential, will continue to advise the public that physical distancing will minimise risk even if not legally mandated.
- Scottish Government will continue to liaise with businesses to minimise risk of transmission, to ensure safe environments for customers and staff.
- Still looking at COVID status certification for access to higher risk venues in future, working on an app for international travel certification which will have capacity to adapt for domestic settings if deemed a requirement. App will be launched next month

- Changes to self-isolation rules -those who test positive or show symptoms will still have to automatically self-isolate.
- However, close contacts of someone who has tested positive will no longer be required to self-isolate automatically for 10 days if they have been double vaccinated and are not showing any symptoms. Instead they would have to take a PCR test which comes out negative.

A staged approach to Phase 2 in Scotland

Scotland will enter the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions on Friday 19 June 2020. Over the coming weeks shops will start to reopen, work will resume in certain industries, and some of the rules about meeting other people will be relaxed. 

The current status of the epidemic in Scotland means that the changes in Phase 2 will be introduced in stages, rather than all at once.

View the Updated Route Map table to reflect the move to Phase 2 in Scotland's route map through and out of the crisis:

REMINDER: Applications for the Small Business Grants Fund closes 5pm on 10 July 2020

News Release: 8 June 2020

Small businesses which share properties but do not pay business rates are now eligible to apply for grants to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, rate-paying landlord. Separately, eligibility has also been extended to companies occupying multiple premises with a cumulative value of more than £51,000.

Eligible businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for grants of up to £10,000.

It has also been confirmed that the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes will close for new applications on 10 July. Latest figures up to 2 June show that £824.541 million has been distributed to 72,622 businesses across Scotland through the schemes, but that new applications have slowed in recent weeks.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“Our comprehensive package of business support is now worth more than £2.3 billion. Our programme is kept under constant review, and we are always looking for ways to extend eligibility to help more businesses. That is precisely what we are doing today.

“New applications for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes have slowed in recent weeks as large numbers of businesses have already applied. We are committed to ensuring every penny we receive from the UK Government for business support - and more – will be passed to businesses. It is essential that we do not allow funds to sit for too long in schemes that are attracting few applications, so we have decided to bring these to a close next month. That will mean that any remaining money can be re-routed to help businesses in other ways, as we have already started to do for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

“I would encourage the owners of any eligible small business which needs support to consider applying through their local authority during the next five weeks and before 10 July.”

Local links to apply: 

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE businesses, please refer to -

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE (downloadable pdf available at page link below) -


CJRS – Flexible Furloughing Starts From 1 July 2020

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are to begin with businesses able to flexibly furlough eligible employees from 1 July onwards.

Businesses can claim a more flexible grant for any employee it has previously received a CJRS grant for, and who now returns to work on reduced hours. Businesses can also continue to claim for employees who stay fully furloughed.

Guidance on eligibility and how to claim for flexibly furloughed employees can be found by searching for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV.UK.

What you need to do next
  •  Claim for periods ending on or before 30 June, by 31 July – this is the last date you can make those claims;
  •  Agree the hours and shift patterns that you want your employees to work from 1 July;
  •  Pay your employees' wages for the time they’re in work and apply for a job retention scheme grant to cover the remainder of their usual hours for which they are still furloughed; and
  •  Claim for further furlough periods as needed – the first time you will be able to make a claim for days in July will be 1 July.

Guidance on opening of public and customer toilets during the coronavirus pandemic has recently been released. 

The opening of public toilets carries with it a risk of transmission of COVID-19 given the low levels of natural light, lack of ventilation, many surfaces to touch and the purpose of a toilet. Therefore, there is a need for careful consideration of how public toilets can be opened as safely as possible.

Safe opening will vary according to specific sectors and should align to the guidance provided by those sectors in terms of restart. Assurance that adequate sanitary facilities can be provided where appropriate is integral to the restart process.

Public toilets are defined as any toilets accessible to the public. The opening of toilets should be accompanied by local risk assessment, and control measures should be proactively monitored by operators. Most premises should have a norovirus policy that can be adapted for use in cleaning facilities if an individual with COVID-19 symptoms is known to have used the facilities.

Risk assessment should specifically include:
  • remote/unmonitored facilities for which there may be increased demand as travel restrictions are eased and people start travelling greater distances
  • janitorial staff for whom operators should already have procedures/PPE in place
Find out more here

Update - Scottish RouteMap

The Scottish Government has today (Wednesday 24 June)  set out indicative dates for amendments to current restrictions planned for the remainder of Phase 2 and early in Phase 3, to assist businesses, individuals and organisations to prepare.

The easing of lockdown will mean that some businesses can re-open, adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Monday 29 June

Indoor (non-office) workplaces resume once relevant guidance is implemented.
Includes: factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities.
Excludes: indoor workplaces due to open in Phase 3 (e.g. non-essential offices and call-centres).

Friday 3 July

Travel distance restriction relaxed

Monday 6 July

Outdoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)

Monday 13 July

All dental practices begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care. 
Increasing capacity within community optometry practices for emergency and essential eye care
Non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open (following guidance and with physical distancing)

Wednesday 15 July

All holiday accommodation permitted (following relevant guidance)
Indoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)
Hairdressers and barbers - with enhanced hygiene measures
Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries - with physical distancing and other measures (e.g. ticketing in advance)
All childcare providers can open subject to individual provider arrangements

Further Phase 3 announcements are expected to be made at the next review on 9 July

For more information please visit the Scottish Government Website

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

On Friday 29 May the Chancellor announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August. HMRC has updated its guidance to confirm that:

  • Those eligible for the first grant must claim on or before 13 July 2020;
  • Applications for the second grant will open in August;
  • The eligibility criteria remain the same as for the first SEISS grant;
  • Those claiming for the second grant will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020; and
  • Individuals can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.

The guidance also includes new examples of when the ‘adversely affected’ criteria for the first and second grant will be met.

SCC Network Report To Advisory Group On Economic Recovery

Scottish Chambers of Commerce submission to the Scottish Government's AGER, following the SCC Network roundtable with Benny Higgins and Lord Smith held on 28th May, has now been submitted following consultation with the wider Scottish Chamber Network and the Scottish Business Advisory Group.

Read the report

Support for tourism industry 10 June 2020

Further measures have been announced by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing to support Scotland’s vital tourism industry.

A new Scottish Recovery Tourism Taskforce will assist with the ongoing reset of the sector - and a provisional date of 15 July has been set for when tourism businesses may be able to resume operations, dependent on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the Scottish Government lockdown route-map.

The taskforce will look at the sector’s recovery needs as well as actions being taken by the UK Government and the development of a new domestic visitor marketing campaign.

The taskforce is in addition to the £2.3 billion package of support for businesses across Scotland which includes measures specific to the tourism and hospitality industry such as a full year’s non-domestic rates relief and specific grant schemes which are not available elsewhere in the UK.

Mr Ewing made the announcements during a statement to Parliament. He said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges across the entirety of the Scottish economy, but it is very clear there are exceptional circumstances facing this sector that must be recognised.

“We have acted as quickly as we can to address the significant financial challenges faced by businesses and provide a comprehensive package of support. We are also pushing the UK Government to do more, including a review of VAT rates and to consider extensions to schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“I’ve been engaging with businesses since the beginning of the outbreak and I have heard their calls for more clarity which today I can provide. Businesses should start to prepare for a provisional return to trading – with appropriate safety guidelines – on the 15th July 2020.

“This date cannot be definitive and is conditional on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the route map. Businesses must now use this time to satisfy the necessary regulations and adapt to the new way of living.”

Please find links to key documents below:

COVID-19: Scotland’s route map for transitioning through and out of the crisis

Transport Transition Plan

Grants extended to help more companies in need but deadline to apply for grants now 10 July 2020

Small businesses which share properties but do not pay business rates are now eligible to apply for grants to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, rate-paying landlord. Separately, eligibility has also been extended to companies occupying multiple premises with a cumulative value of more than £51,000.

Eligible businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for grants of up to £10,000.

It has also been confirmed that the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes will close for new applications on 10 July. Latest figures up to 2 June show that £824.541 million has been distributed to 72,622 businesses across Scotland through the schemes, but that new applications have slowed in recent weeks.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“Our comprehensive package of business support is now worth more than £2.3 billion. Our programme is kept under constant review, and we are always looking for ways to extend eligibility to help more businesses. That is precisely what we are doing today.

“New applications for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes have slowed in recent weeks as large numbers of businesses have already applied. We are committed to ensuring every penny we receive from the UK Government for business support - and more – will be passed to businesses. It is essential that we do not allow funds to sit for too long in schemes that are attracting few applications, so we have decided to bring these to a close next month. That will mean that any remaining money can be re-routed to help businesses in other ways, as we have already started to do for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

“I would encourage the owners of any eligible small business which needs support to consider applying through their local authority during the next five weeks and before 10 July.”




Chancellor Extends Self-Employment Support Scheme and Confirms Furlough Steps

The UK government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, giving more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus in the coming months.

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The Chancellor also set out more details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work, following the announcement of an extension of the scheme on 12 May.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything;

August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed;

September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed; and

October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

Lockdown begins to ease in Phase 1

Physical distancing and staying at home still key to tackling COVID-19

Changes to Scotland’s lockdown restrictions have been confirmed today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

While some outdoor activity restrictions will ease as of Friday, the public are still urged to stay at home as much as possible and maintain strict physical distancing when outdoors.

From tomorrow, two households will be allowed to meet in outdoor spaces up to a suggested maximum of eight people. However, it is important that physical distancing and hygiene rules are maintained.

 Read more here

Scotland is preparing the transport system as we transition through and out of the COVID-19 crisis.


Construction Sector Guidance From Scottish Government

After working with representative bodies, employers and trade unions from the construction sector, updated guidance has been published to help construction restart safely and recover from the damaging impact of COVID-19.  

Please find links to the guidance below:

Construction Guidance

Updated guidance for other sectors still to come.

Covid-19 Sick Pay Scheme Opens For Applications

In a further boost to employers affected by the outbreak, The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme – which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the Budget -opened for applications this morning.

The scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 members of staff, to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks - worth nearly £200 per employee.

Launching on, the new online service is being run by HMRC, and after making an application employers will receive the money within six working days.

To get the rebate, employers will need to go online and input simple information on the employees being claimed for.

Test And Protect Rolled Out Nationally

Test and Protect – NHS Scotland’s approach to controlling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community – will be rolled out across all health boards from Thursday 28th May.

From that date, everyone aged five and over who has COVID-19 symptoms of a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell should go to NHS Inform online or call 0800 028 2816 to book a test.  

Under the system, people will need to isolate with their household as soon as they have symptoms and, if they have a positive test result, they will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS contact tracers.  Those people will be contacted and asked to isolate for 14 days.

As part of the roll out, guidance for individuals and employers has been published which sets out advice on what to do if someone is displaying symptoms or if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

It includes information on how to self-isolate safely as part of Test and Protect, what plans need to be made by households and families, and how to help older people or those with underlying health conditions.


Scottish Government To Publish Public Transport Guidance

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson set out the fresh guidance for bus and train passengers in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 26 May.

People in Scotland using public transport are being advised to use face coverings and follow distancing guidelines ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions.

They are being urged to avoid busier times on trains and buses, walk or cycle where they can, and to work from home where possible.

But only a limited service will operate during the first phase of lockdown easing - with a limited capacity to allow for physical distancing.

He will urge employers to be "as flexible as possible" with their employees. The focus on urging people to work from home is likely to remain in place for some time.

His guidance is being published alongside a new Transport Transition Plan - a "dynamic and evolving" web-based publication which will share current guidance with stakeholders and members of the public.

This guidance and the plan is still be published on the Scottish Government website and we will update this page with links in due course.


Sector Guidance From Scottish Government

New guidance has been published for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work, with updated guidance for construction to publish later in the week.

The documents, which are among the first for a number of specific sectors, have been developed in consultation with business, trades unions and regulators. It will provide advice on essential equipment and services needed to create the conditions for safer workplaces.

Companies are expected to undertake a robust risk management approach that has been developed and maintained through joint working with employees. This will offer assurances to workers when the time is right to return to work.

Working to the phased approach in the route map on easing lockdown published last week, it details the steps required for businesses, acknowledging that some will face more complications when reopening than others, while also considering the impact on employees.


Scottish Government Increases Funding Support

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 26 May, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fiona Hyslop MSP outlined further measures that the Scottish Government are taking to support more businesses adversely affected by Covid-19:

  • Extending the eligibility of the current small business and retail, hospitality and leisure grant to businesses that occupy multiple premises with a cumulative value above 51k;
  • And also to businesses occupying premises such as shared office spaces, business incubators and shared industrial units where the landlord is the ratepayer; and
  • In addition, for those businesses that were ineligible to apply for Hardship Funds because they did not have a Business Bank Account, the Scottish Government will be exploring ways of how to support those companies.

Further details will be released later this week.


Grant support is available to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of these one-off grants is to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery.

Larger Businesses To Benefit From Loans Of Up To £200 Million

Businesses will be able to benefit from larger loans under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the government announced today.

The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million, to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak.

The expanded loans, which have been introduced following discussions with lenders and business groups, will be available from 26 May.
Borrowers under CLBILS will be able to borrow up to 25% of turnover, up to a maximum of £200 million;

How To Claim Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay

The Covid-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on 26 May. The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Tax agents will be able to make claims on behalf of employers.

Employers are eligible to use the scheme if:

They’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus;
They had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020;
They had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020; and
They’re eligible to receive State Aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework.
The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:

Have coronavirus;
Are self-isolating and unable to work from home; and
Are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
To prepare to make a claim, employers should keep records of all the SSP payments they wish to claim for. Further details can be found via the below link.

13 May 2020: Applications for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme open early

The UK government’s scheme to support the self-employed has today opened for claims – weeks ahead of schedule. 

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens for applications today
  • those eligible will receive government grant worth up to £7,500
  • money expected to be in bank accounts by 25 May

From 8am this morning self-employed individuals or members of partnerships  wh ose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits.

Millions are expected to benefit from the scheme with the payments – to be paid in a single instalment covering three months and capped at £7,500 – expected to land in bank accounts within six working days of each claim.

Everyone eligible for the SEISS, which is one of the most generous support schemes announced by any government in response to coronavirus, will be able to receive the government grant by 25 May, or within six days of a completed claim.


Individuals are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020, intend to continue trading, and they: 

  • earn at least half of their income through self-employment
  • have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year
  • traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year

HMRC calculate the amount to be paid to each eligible claimant based on an average of the tax returns for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Check if you are eligible for the scheme here.

Customers have been invited to claim their SEISS grant on a specified date, from 13 - 18 May. They won’t be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.

People can check their date using HMRC’s online checker at any time.

For further information, please read HMRC’s guidance or speak to your tax agent. If you need further support, please use HMRC’s webchat service or call the Covid-19 Helpline on 0800 024 1222.


12 May 2020: Job Retention Scheme Extension

Announced today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the scheme has been extended as is to the end of July, with the overall scheme extended to the end of October with new flexibilities and lower payment rate. 

From August to October, employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring back furloughed employees part-time, to support the transition to work.

We will be working with the Chambers of Commerce network to influence the detail of the scheme and very much welcome the announcement.

It is vital that businesses can influence the flexibility of the scheme to enable recovery planning, as well as receiving the right level of support for their sector and geographical area in order to ensure economic sustainabiity. 

Read more here

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

As part of Scottish Government’s support to businesses, a fund has been established to support the newly self-employed who are not eligible for any other form of financial support.

The purpose of this fund is to provide hardship relief to newly self-employed individuals who have not been able to access support through other schemes.

Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £2000.

Individuals may only apply once and only in one Local Authority area. This must be the Local Authority area in which they live, regardless of where they trade.

This fund is being administered by local authorities:





30 April 2020: Three new grants for businesses impacted by coronavirus now available:





Non-Domestic Rates

  • 1-year rates holiday (100% relief) for all retail, hospitality and leisure properties, from April.
  • 1.6% NDR relief for all properties across Scotland, from April.
  • A new Local Government Finance Order to approve the NDR estimate reduction of £1bn and an increase in General Revenue Grant of £1bn.

Grants to businesses

  • £10k grant for all businesses qualifying for Small Business Bonus Scheme, eligible for rural relief or nurseries relief, from April.
  • £25k grant for businesses in hospitality sector for Rateable Values between £18,000 and £51,000 from April.
  • Total cost: £1.2bn with 120,000 businesses eligible.

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE businesses, please refer to -

EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE (downloadable pdf available at page link below) -




Self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus, the chancellor has announced. 

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest and will pay 80% of profits up to £2,500 a month for three months initially. Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work.

It is targeted at up to 3.8 million of the 5 million people registered as self-employed, who earn under £50k. The money, backdated till March, will arrive directly into people's banks accounts from HMRC as a lump sum for all three months, but not until June. The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022.

At least half their income needs to have come from self-employment as registered on the 2019-20 tax return filed in January, or averaged over the three previous years. Company owners who pay themselves a dividend are not covered.

Read more here

Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans 

New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced today (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 scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days, and comes alongside the £6 billion awarded in business grants, supporting 4 million jobs through the job retention scheme and generous tax deferrals supporting hundreds of thousands of firms.

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.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

"Our smallest businesses are the backbone of our economy and play a vital role in their communities. This new rapid loan scheme will help ensure they get the finance they need quickly to help survive this crisis.

This is in addition to business grants, tax deferrals, and the job retention scheme, which are already helping to support hundreds of thousands of small businesses."

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

"Our small businesses are vital in ensuring our communities thrive and will be crucial in creating jobs and securing economic growth as we recover.

This rapid loan scheme offers additional protection so small companies across the country can get access to the finance they need immediately, as part of the unprecedented package of support we have put in place."

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

Essential workers: apply for a Coronavirus test

All essential workers and members of their households who are showing symptoms of Coronavirus can now book a test via the new online system. Employers can register and refer self-isolating staff and employees can book for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms.

Essential workers can enter their details and will then receive a text or email the same day inviting them to book an appointment at one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites across the country, or to receive a home testing kit. Please note more allocations of tests are made available everyday.

Test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48hrs, and within 72hrs of collection of the home delivery tests.

Anyone who thinks they are eligible and has symptoms and would like to be tested should speak to their employer or use the self-referral website to request a test. Find further information here.

Scottish Government Announce Lifeline Support For Businesses in Scotland

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days. Read the full statement here

The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief
  • £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

The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed. The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.


Social Distancing Regulations Strengthened in Scotland

Social distancing regulations introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed and extended to protect workers.

Temporary regulations restricting public gatherings and non-essential business activity have been in force since 26 March.

The regulations must be reviewed every 3 weeks and are kept under continual review by the Scottish Government. A number of amendments have now been made to protect workers and provide further guidance for people in Scotland.

The adjustments to the regulations include formalising the two metre distancing rules to all businesses that remain open. Businesses that do not take all reasonable measures to enforce those rules could be fined or ultimately prosecuted.

The legislation will also make clear that livestock markets and money advice services such as foreign exchange services can continue to operate, while holiday accommodation businesses can manage online and telephone services for bookings related to future dates. A technical change has also been made to clarify that burial grounds can stay open.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live

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

The job retention scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a package of support to protect jobs and businesses, allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employees wages, capped at £2,500 a month.

Millions of people across the UK are expected to benefit from the scheme, with businesses including Pret a Manger, Brewdog and Timpsons using it to ensure staff keep their jobs and are paid whilst many high street businesses are closed.

HMRC’s portal has a step by step application process and up to 5,000 staff will be manning phone lines and webchat services to ensure any questions can be answered.

Last week the Chancellor announced the scheme will be extended for a further month until the end of June, to reflect continuing Covid-19 lockdown measures.

*Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before March 19 they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system.

It's recommended that you take a screenshot of your successful online submission in case you need to provide that information to your bank or have any queries at a later date.

Here are some useful links:

Delaying import duty payments as a result of Coronavirus

HM Revenue and Customs has released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. This includes advice for Duty deferment account holders and for Duty/import VAT payments not covered by a duty deferment account.

Further details can be found on the British Chambers site under the trade heading within the 'official guidance from UK government'.

The UK government has provided further clarification on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including details businesses will need in order to make a claim once the portal goes live.

The portal for claims goes live on 20 April. Please take a look so that you can take timely action.

There has been further clarifications to the guidance, including:

  • confirmation of what should form the basis for furlough pay for employees furloughed on return from (maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption/sick/parental bereavement) leave;
  • confirmation that employees subject to TUPE transfer/ business reorganisation/ payroll consolidation can be furloughed;
  • confirmation of the position for contractors in scope of IR35 in the public sector; and
  • clarification of the circumstances where an employee shouldn’t be furloughed by multiple employers.
Take a look at HMRC's recorded webinar which provides guidance on the Scheme including information and advice on:

• furloughed workers;
• scheme eligibility;
• how to calculate a claim and more.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has issued a list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by Coronavirus.

Coronavirus testing capacity call

The UK government is requesting industry involvement in the manufacture of Coronavirus testing capacity and testing kits. Please spread the word with your members and share the specification criteria. Businesses who meet this specification should review the guidance on helping the government increase testing capacity and register here.

Use this service to advise how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus.

The support needed includes things like:

  • medical testing equipment
  • medical equipment design
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
  • hotel rooms
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • manufacturing equipment
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement or engineering
  • social care or childcare

You’ll be asked some questions about the type of support you can give. You’ll then be contacted as soon as possible if your support is needed.

You’ll need your company number if you have one.

15 April 2020

Second phase of funding to protect against the effects of COVID-19.

Around £220 million of further grants 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. Details TBC

8 April 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £750m package to keep struggling charities afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Letter from The RT Hon Alok Sharma MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to those working in manufacturing and industry in the UK.

"At this unprecedented time for the UK I want to pay tribute to you for the work you are doing to keep the UK economy going.

As you know, the Government’s priority is saving lives and we have advised that where possible, people should stay at home and work from home.

However, our country needs your support to keep supply chains moving and key workers mobile, as well as to protect the economy as much as possible. Every business has a role to play in helping the country defeat coronavirus.

Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and I would like to be clear that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules."

Read the full letter here

Coronavirus Guides for Business:

You can find two guides here for businesses looking for answers and guidance on a number of things:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Survival Guide: Employment Support For Businesses

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Survival Guide: Financial Support Schemes For Businesses

Please get in touch with any member of our team or call 0141 280 0272 with any questions at all. 

You can find the latest guidance from the Scottish Government here, on business and social distancing.

The first half of the document is advisory while the second lists the closures which will be enforced.

2 April 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is today (Friday 3 April) taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.

  • Current loan scheme extended so more small businesses can benefit
  • lenders banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000
  • new scheme announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans
  • Chancellor emphasises importance of banks moving quickly to support the economy, jobs and businesses

 Find out more about the CBILS and how to apply.

25 March 2020

You can find the latest guidance from the Scottish Government here, on business and social distancing.

The first half of the document is advisory while the second lists the closures which will be enforced.

24 March 2020

Grant support (see local infomation above) is now available to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of these one-off grants is to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery.

23 March 2020:

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed that following health advice was "not optional".  Ms Sturgeon called on shops which do not provide essentials such as food or medicine to close. Further update here on latest Scottish Coronavirus deaths

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme opened for applications on 23 March. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. Find out more about the CBILS and how to apply.

How to access government financial support if you or your business has been affected by Coronavirus? Review the HM Treasury Coronavirus factsheet.

The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility will provide a quick and cost-effective way to raise working capital for those large firms who need it. 

To access the CCFF firms do not have to have previously issued commercial paper or currently have a credit rating, but do need to be of investment grade – please take a look at what steps can be taken in order to participate. The Bank has published a dedicated webpage for corporates seeking to use the CCFF: participation in CCFF.  

UK Government announcement 20 March 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months.

Deferral of VAT for 3 months - VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months (until 30 June 2020). This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. Self-employed will get full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - a new scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable small and medium sized businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5m, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses and with no interest due for the first twelve months. Those loans will now be available on Monday 23rdMarch.

Time to Pay upscaled - a dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

Government backed and guaranteed loans – there will be an initial £330bn to support companies in the form of government-backed loans for any business who needs access to cash, with more capacity as required.

* Further fiscal measures are expected in coming days. There may be some variations to the measures announced among devolved nations - we will continue to update as quickly as possible.


£2.2 billion for business

The Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues: we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost to the latest sources of information.

A new Q&A on rates reliefs and grants has been published. This is a live page - click here to access

Actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
  • 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
  • urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
  • extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
  • halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill

The £2.2 billion package of support for business supersedes the £320 million package announced on 14 March and includes an additional £1.9 billion of increased support following the Chancellor’s announcement on 17 March.

A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 - advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.

The helpline is 0300 303 0660, and will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm. 

The website is the best way for business to find the information they need in relation to Covid-19 (24/7)