Coronavirus - information for businesses

COVID-19 Protection Levels - Argyll and Bute is at Level 2

Support available for businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions >

Scottish Government Guidance

Guidance for re-opening -  for non-essential retail shops, and outdoor seating areas for restaurants, cafes and licensed premises after temporary restrictions are lifted

Financial support for businesses

You can use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business:

Business support finder

The UK and Scottish Governments have announced a package of support to assist businesses.  You can find out more at COVID-19 UK Govt Support for business and FindBusinessSupportScotland.

Sign up to email updates from Find business support in Scotland to get the latest Government funding announcements.

You can find details of the different types of support below:

Support for businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19

Scottish Government funding, administered via the Council to assist businesses in Argyll and Bute includes:

  • The Strategic Framework Business Fund  - for businesses directly required by law to close or modify their operations as a result of COVID -19 Restrictions.  Grants are based on rateable value, paid every four weeks in arrears. The Council is administering this fund for businesses in Argyll and Bute. Find out if you are eligible and how to applyPLEASE DO NOT APPLY AGAIN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED AN APPLICATION TO THE STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK BUSINESS FUND (SFBF) FOR THE SAME PREMISES.  Your original SFBF application will be re-assessed against the eligibility criteria for each four week period.
  • Island Equivalent Payment – For eligible Level 3 island businesses from January, grants are available on the same basis as offered through the Strategic Framework Business Fund to eligible mainland businesses while in Level 4. In Argyll and Bute, this applies to the Isle of Coll, the Isle of Colonsay, the Isle of Erraid, the Isle of Gometra, the Isle of Iona, the Isle of Islay, the Isle of Jura, the Isle of Mull, the Isle of Oronsay, the Isle of Tiree, and the Isle of Ulva.  Application is online via the Strategic Framework Business Fund form Strategic Framework Business Fund - Argyll and Bute (argyll-bute.gov.uk). Eligibility for this funding is determined by the Scottish Government and the Council does not have discretion to vary or amend thisPayments are subject to the same terms and conditions as the Strategic Framework Business Fund
  • Discretionary Fund - The Discretionary Fund provides assistance to small businesses and the self-employed based in Argyll and Bute who are facing short-term financial challenges as a result of COVID restrictions, and who have been ineligible for  any of the COVID related business support announced by the Scottish Government since 1 October 2020.
  • Support for larger self-catering propertiesTo be eligible self-catering businesses must be on the Non-Domestic Rates roll, and must be recorded by the rates assessor as sleeping seven or more guests. Application forms have been issued to all eligible businesses.  Please complete and return with the required evidence to ndr@argyll-bute.gov.uk.  If you believe you may qualify for this grant and have not received an email with an application form, please contact ndr@argyll-bute.gov.uk.
  • Support for Exclusive use venues - To be eligible, self-catering businesses must be listed on the Non-Domestic Rates roll as ‘exclusive use accommodation’. Those businesses identified as eligible will be contacted by directly the Council  - timing to be confirmed.
  • Support for B&Bs paying council taxthose who received support from the Bed & Breakfast and Serviced Accommodation Provider Fund last summer will be contacted directly by the Council. We will do this as soon as we receive finalised guidance from the Scottish Government for the scheme. We await clarification from the Scottish Government as to whether the scheme can be expanded to include those who may meet the eligibility criteria now but who did not apply last summer. Please do not contact us about this wider eligibility just now.
  • Hospitality, non-essential retail and leisure top up - If you applied to the Strategic Framework Business Fund by 5 February 2021 your application will be automatically assessed for this top up if you are in Level 4. If approved, you will be notified by email and any additional payment will be issued separately. Applications submitted to the Strategic Framework Business Fund after 5 February 2021 cannot be considered for a Hospitality, non-essential retail and leisure top up.  This timescale was set by the Scottish Government and the Council does not have discretion on this. Further information on the Strategic Framework Business Fund is available on the Scottish Government website
  • Taxi and Private Hire Driver's Support Fund: On 9 December 2020, the Scottish Government announced its intention to establish a specific fund to provide financial support to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in Scotland, in recognition of the significant disruption that you have experienced as a result of restrictions introduced to control the spread of COVID-19. This fund has now launched and is providing one-off grants of £1,500 to those who meet the eligibility criteria. Further details on this announcement can be found at the Scottish Government’s website or at www.findbusinesssupport.gov.scot.

  • Contingency Fund Plus – Support for Brewers, Travel Agents and Indoor Football Centres.  This fund will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 for travel agents and indoor football centres based on the rateable value of the premises from which they operate as well as grants of up to £30,000 for breweries based on both their rateable value and annual production levels, provided all the qualifying criteria is met.  The Council has identified eligible properties and will contact you direct with the relevant application form.

Please do not contact the Council for further information about these other funds– we await further guidance and will share information as soon as we can.

Other Scottish Government Funding

To keep up date to date with new funds as they launch, you can sign up to email alerts from Find business support in Scotland - Find Business Support

Other funding announced includes:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or furlough scheme, was due to end on 31 October 2020 and be superseded by the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) from 1 November 2020. However, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has now been extended to 30 April 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on furlough due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus from the UK Government is intended to provide additional support to employers who keep on furloughed employees in employment after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends, but it will no longer be paid in February 2021, as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021. Further details about the extension are available on the gov.uk website.

The Public Transport Retrofit Fund

The Public Transport Retrofit Fund is a new fund aimed at supporting public and community transport operators during COVID-19 is now open to applications. This includes taxi and private hire operators, community transport and bus/coach operators.

Coronavirus Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 30 April 2021.

Further information about the Job Support Scheme is available on the gov.uk website

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Applications for the first and second grant via HMRC are now closed. The scheme has been extended from November 2020 to April 2021. To be eligible for the Grant Extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

The first grant will cover a three-month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 40% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total. HMRC will provide full details about claiming in due course.

Find out more about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension here

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. Small and medium-sized businesses can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. There won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months and after that interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

Guidance and how to apply https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. You will need to show that your business would be viable were it not for the pandemic and that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.

Guidance and how to apply https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme

There are over 50 lenders participating in the scheme including all the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website. The lender will decide whether to offer you a loan or another type of finance and you’ll be responsible for repaying 100% of the amount borrowed. The government will pay the interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

Non domestic Rates relief

ALL non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. 

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied.

These reliefs will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

You do not need to apply for these reliefs as they will be applied to your bill by the Council.

If you are struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact the Council and ask about your payment options.

Further information on non-domestic rates relief is available on the Scottish Government website

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

If you're an employer, find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19. The refund can cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed a payment. Because of coronavirus you may be able to delay (defer) your Self Assessment payment on account due in July 2020 until 31 January 2021. Contact the HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline if you cannot pay any other tax bills because of coronavirus.

Support for Private Landlords

The Scottish Government short-term emergency loan scheme can provide an interest-free loan is available to landlords who have five or fewer rental properties and will fund lost rental income from a single property. It is designed to take the pressure off landlords, in the short-term, if their tenants are having difficulty making rent payments. https://covidlandlordloan.est.org.uk/

Business Gateway

Help and advice for your business is available from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute. You can talk to one of our experienced local business advisers, for free and in confidence.

If you are based in Argyll and Bute and looking for support to help your business start, survive or grow, we can assist. We can also provide information, guides, workshops, webinars, and signpost funding and useful contacts, tailored to your needs.

Online guides, tutorials and further resources are available on the website - bgateway.com

Contact the local team via 01546 604555 or business.gateway@argyll-bute.gov.uk

https://www.facebook.com/bgargyllandbute/

Closed Funds – no longer open for applications

The following Funds have now closed and new applications cannot be accepted.

  • The COVID-19 Closure Fund and the Business Hardship Fund (linked to the Brake Restrictions from 9 October to 2 November)
  • Business Support Fund Grants (Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant)
  • Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund
  • Bed and Breakfast and Small Serviced Accommodation Provider Hardship Fund
  • Coronavirus Support Scheme for Self Catering Businesses
  • COVID-19 Contingency Fund - Update 14/1/2021 – The criteria for this fund has been updated to include SEV’s (Sexual Entertainment Venues).  If you think you qualify please contact ndr@argyll-bute.gov.uk for an application form.

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Please check back regularly for updates
page last updated: 23/2/2021