Additional support is being made available for businesses and the recently self-employed, it has been announced today (Wednesday 15 April.)

The Scottish Government has announced new coronavirus support for smaller businesses and self-employed, following representations from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The £220 million package includes specific help for the newly self-employed; smaller chains; businesses with acute short term cash-flow problems and for other firms excluded from existing help.

FSB wrote to the Scottish Government making the case for an extended package of measures for operators excluded from existing support initiatives, as well as those that believe the help insufficient.

The FSB's Highlands & Islands Development Manager, David Richardson, said: "While we don't know all the details yet, these new Scottish Government measures, which come after campaigning from the FSB, will undoubtedly help a great many Highlands & Islands businesses and the self-employed, and, by extension, the fragile communities in which they live and operate."

Colin Borland, FSB's director of devolved nations, commented: "For those that were due to receive nothing – like the new self-employed and some home-based and vehicle firms – this new help could be a lifeline. For others – like smaller chains – it could provide a critical top up to the money already in the pipeline.

"This help looks more flexible than previous schemes, and Ministers in Edinburgh deserve credit for adjusting the help on offer following feedback from firms and the FSB.

"We'll need to see the swift deployment of this cash. And this looks unlikely to be the end of the story. If we want as many firms as possible to make it through this crisis, then governments north and south of the border may be required to provide additional rounds of help."

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “Further details of how and where to apply, eligibility criteria and deadlines will be available soon.

“Protecting people’s health is of course very important and rightly remains the Scottish Government’s primary concern, the economic impact of Covid19 is enormous and the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to support business and individuals.”

Further information can be found here.