The First Minister has announced further details of the £40m that the Scottish Government has earmarked to support employees and businesses hit by the new Covid-19 restrictions and eligibility criteria.

Outer Hebrides Tourism explains how the business support funds will be administered by local authorities, providing one-off grants to businesses directly impacted by the restrictions implemented on 9 October 2020. 

A COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will be restricted to hospitality and other businesses required to close by the brake restrictions regulations. It operates as a two-tier scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of under £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with an RV over £51,000.  

At the same time, local authorities will invite applications for a discretionary business hardship fund -  with payments of up to £1500 - will support some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close.

For the business closure fund you must be a hospitality or other business required by law to close under these new restrictions.  

For the discretionary business hardship fund you must be:
  • a hospitality business and some gyms, required by the regulations to operate in a restricted way
  • a producer/wholesale business based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a 25% reduction in turnover during the break period
If your business operates multiple premises you can apply for grants for each premise, applying only once to the local authority in which your business is headquartered. The maximum any one business can receive will be restricted, regardless of the number of premises: the upper limit for the business closure fund is £15,000; the upper limit for business hardship fund is £10,000.

Your businesses must have been open and trading before 9 October.

You must have a business bank account. This is the account your grant will be paid into if your application is successful.

Your business premises must be registered for Non-Domestic rates. Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly to a Council are eligible to apply (evidence to be provided through a copy of lease agreement). 

Businesses which have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions are not eligible to apply. 

Businesses with connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, are not eligible to apply.

Applications are welcome from Limited Companies, Sole Traders, Trusts and Partnerships provided they meet the other criteria. 

Retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for these closure or hardship funds.

Local authority websites will be updated at 9 am today  (Tuesday 20th October) allowing business to complete applications. Applications will close on Tuesday 3rd November at 5 pm.

All details are on the Scottish Government website.