Covid-19 Business Support – Updated 26/04/21

Throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, Hamilton Our Town has been working hard to support all across our community: this Blog brings together the links we have shared and is the place where we share updates on formation to help our community’s businesses and organisations.

The content featured is in chronological order – the most recent at the top of the page. We have kept older information as some remains relevant ongoing.

Key links …

Monday 26th April

“You can find all the latest support and advice for businesses in Scotland, including the latest workplace guidance at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus  To support you and your business to reopen for both staff and customers safely, we have produced a series of resources that highlight the latest guidance and regulations, plus where to find more information. We hope you find the resources in this toolkit useful.”

Just click on the image below to open/download …

Tuesday 16th March

Headlines from today’s update …

  • Monday 5 April will see the beginning of the phased re-opening of non essential retail.
    • Click and collect retail services will be permitted to reopen, along with homeware stores, and car showrooms and forecourts.
    • Garden centres will also be able to reopen on 5 April
    • Hairdresser and barber salons to reopen for appointments on 5 April.
  • On 26 April, parts of Scotland in level 4 are expected to move to level 3.
    • And restrictions on journeys within mainland Scotland are expected to be lifted entirely.
    • It is hoped restrictions on journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK can also be lifted, if not on 26 April, then as soon as possible thereafter.
    • Cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 10pm from 26 April.
    • Alcohol will be permitted, and there will be no requirement for food to be served.
    • There could be limited indoor opening of hospitality from 26 April too.
    • This will be limited initially to the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm, and for groups of up to four people from no more than 2 households.
    • All remaining retail premises are expected to re-open on 26 April.
    • All tourist accommodation will be able to re-open, subject to any restrictions.
    • Libraries, museums and galleries will also reopen from 26 April.
    • Indoor gyms will also reopen for individual exercise on that date.

Non-domestic rates relief extended

Extra money for mental health, education and tackling poverty. 

Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined. It is one of a series of measures following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending. Read more via this link …

Update from South Lanarkshire Council

Strategic Framework Business Fund

  • To receive the hospitality, non-essential retail and leisure top-up payments, you must apply for the Strategic Framework Business Fund by 5 February 2021. If you have already applied to the Strategic Framework Business Fund, you do not need to reapply for the top-up grant. It will be issued automatically.
  • In February, eligible businesses will receive a Level 4 closure grant of £2,000 or £3,000, regardless of any change to the level of restriction during the period.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Claims for furlough days in January 2021 must be submitted by 15 February 2021.
  • A new ‘Details of your claim that will be publicly available’ section has been added to the summary document. It includes links to employer claim data publication and guidance on how to ask HMRC not to publish claim details.

Kickstart Scheme

  • From 3 February 2021, employers can apply directly to the Kickstart scheme for any number of job placements. The UK Government are removing the threshold of 30 job placements. You can also choose to apply through a Kickstart gateway, including those supporting sole traders.
  • Applications from new Kickstart gateways close today on 28 January 2021.
  • Kickstart gateways already working with the scheme can continue to add more employers and job placements to their grant agreement.

Local Authority Discretionary Fund- SLC fund will be live from 8 February and info will go live on 5 February

  • A £60 million fund will be distributed by local authorities (local councils) across Scotland. It will help with the short-term financial challenges being experienced by businesses.
  • This is for businesses in Scotland who have not been eligible for previous business support grants.
  • If your business is still being adversely impacted by Tier 4 restrictions (and you have not received any support), you are eligible to apply.
  • Eligibility for this fund is determined by local authorities, please check your local authority website.
  • Further information on these funds will be published on local council websites.

Contingency Fund plus

Brewers Support Fund

  • This fund will be administered through local authorities (your local council) and will provide one-off grants of up to £30,000 to eligible businesses.
  • Local authorities will contact breweries in their area directly to seek the necessary information to confirm their eligibility and process payment.
  • If you think you are eligible for this fund and haven’t been contacted by 8 February 2021, please get in touch with your local authority directly.

Support for Travel Agents

  • This fund will be administered through local authorities (your local council) and will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses.
  • The level of grant awarded will depend on the rateable value of the premises from which you operate.
  • Local authorities will contact travel agents in their area directly to seek the necessary information to confirm their eligibility and process payment.
  • If you haven’t been contacted by your local authority by 8 February 2021, please contact your local authority directly.

Scottish Wedding Industry Fund

  • Provides support to businesses whose main income comes from the wedding and civil partnerships industry, which has been significantly impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The fund offers a fixed grant amount from £5k to £25k, based on turnover.
  • This fund is provided by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
  • Applications are now open. There’s no fixed closing date for this fund – it will close when the full fund has been allocated.

Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund

  • A £1 million fund offering grants of up to £200 for members who are experiencing genuine and pressing hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
  • To be eligible you must be an existing member of the Musicians’ Union (new members cannot apply)
  • Apply via the Musicians Union website

Supporting recovery through the tax system

  • Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will get 100% non-domestic rates relief extended for at least an additional three months, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes confirmed as part of the Scottish Budget.

The poundage – The non-domestic rates tax rate – has been reduced mid-revaluation from 49.8 to 49 pence saving ratepayers more than £120 million and delivering the lowest poundage in the UK.

For more information, please contact South Lanarkshire Council.

Support for the Tourism & Events Sector

“At the end of 2020, the Scottish Government announced that tourism and hospitality businesses across Scotland were to benefit from a £104.3 million Scottish Government package. Visit Scotland will be administering nine of the Scottish Government funds and will move their focus from marketing to funding and support for the next three months to ensure that desperately needed help is delivered quickly, to those most in need.”

Extending support for hospitality, retail and leisure …

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. For more info, to check availability and to make an application, follow this link.

We are grateful to South Lanarkshire Council to providing the following tips for grant applications:

  1. Read the guidelines carefully and understand the requirements
  2. Clear uploads
  3. Check and double check bank account name, sort code and account number
  4. Ensure that bank account name is the same name you have used in your application

More support and advice on applications can be found at Business Gateway.

Strategic Framework Business Fund

The SLC Covid-19 Strategic Framework Business Fund is being administered by South Lanarkshire Council on behalf of the Scottish Government as a response to the Covid-19 Restrictions put in place on certain businesses/sectors from Monday 2 November 2020. On Saturday 26 December 2020 South Lanarkshire Council will move back into Level 4 of the Covid-19 protective measures , this is a move from Level 3 which we entered on Friday 11 December 2020.

Please note that if you have already applied for this fund you do not need to reapply as your first application will cover you as we move between levels.

This fund will be payable to eligible businesses every four weeks in arrears for the duration protective measures are in place. Where restrictions are extended beyond a four week period and South Lanarkshire Council remains at the same level of protection, a business does not need to re-apply and a grant will be automatically awarded for the next four week period. More information can be found via this link.

For news from the Scottish Government on how businesses can get additional and faster access to financial support can be found via this link.

Q. Which businesses can stay open in Level 4?

A: The businesses which must close at Level 4 are set out in law (this external link is updated from time to time)

Businesses which are allowed to stay open will be expected to follow all other legal requirements, rules and guidance. More information for retailers can be found via this link.

Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund

Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund (SERF) has been established in conjunction with Scottish Government to help Scotland?s events sector plan and deliver events through to the end of 2021, and to provide support as the industry responds and adapts to the effects of COVID-19. Click here for more.

Strategic Framework Business Fund

The SLC Covid-19 Strategic Framework Business Fund is being administered by South Lanarkshire Council on behalf of the Scottish Government as a response to the Covid-19 Restrictions put in place on certain businesses/sectors. From Monday 2 November 2020, South Lanarkshire Council was placed in Level 3 of the protective measures. These will impact on many businesses and sectors and this fund has been set up as a response. This fund will be payable every four weeks in arrears for the duration protective measures are in place. Where restrictions are extended beyond a four week period and South Lanarkshire Council remains at the same level of protection, a business does not need to re-apply and a grant will be automatically awarded for the next four week period. Click here for more information and use this link to apply for the funding.

Final Phase 2 Measures – including Face Masks

Following the successful introduction of mandatory face coverings on public transport, the measure will be extended to include retail settings from Friday, 10 July, in line with expected changes to other lockdown measures on that date.” You can read more on the announcement via this link.

Help for Bars & Pubs

Diageo launches multi-million recovery fund for bars: Our new global programme, Raising the Bar, will support pubs and bars to welcome customers back and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. Click this link to register for the programme.

Scottish Government – Phase 2 Update

Please click on the tables below for the full downloadable PDF.

Advice for the Retail Sector …

Guidance for the retail sector including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

You can view and download the checklist via this link.

This guidance is for the retail sector in Scotland. It comes into effect immediately from 26 May 2020 and extends until further notice. It will be reviewed in line with the regular three weekly review of lockdown requirements. We have worked with employers and trade unions to ensure that this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic. As each workplace is different it is for individual businesses to work with trade unions or workforce representatives selected by employees to determine how best to apply this guidance in their circumstances. This document is one of a set of documents about how to work safely in different types of workplace. It is designed to be relevant for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments. It should be applied at the local level. Each business will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take depending on the nature of their business (i.e. the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated) using this document as a guide. It has been designed to be applied to cover the spectrum of different retailers in Scotland from department stores to independent traders. See the operational guide for retailers section which has a downloadable checklist for retailers with actions to consider. You can find more via this link.

Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak

Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to identify and control risks associated with legionella. If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. You should review your risk assessment and manage the legionella risks to protect people when the water system is reinstated or returned to use. If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth. More can be found via this link – and an approved code of practice can be downloaded from here.

COVID-19: Moving your business from the physical to the digital

From the National Cyber Security Centre: COVID-19 has seen many businesses shutter their physical premises and move their operations online, as far as possible. Internet shopping and home working have, almost overnight, become the norm. This shift in working practices is very likely to have changed the nature and priorities of the IT services and support which your business requires. For sole traders or small business owners, establishing exactly what new cyber security measures you need to put in place can seem like quite a challenge. This guidance will help you determine how ready your business is for this digital transition and point the way to any new cyber security measures you should put in place.

Self Employed – Update:

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant. Just follow this link for more.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan scheme ??? will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The UK government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won???t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan and the scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Is my business eligible?

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an undertaking in difficulty on 31 December 2019

You won???t be eligible if your business falls into one of the following:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). If you’ve already received a loan of up to 50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020. More information is available via this link.

Scottish Government Business Support Fund

Grant support is now available to help business 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. Two types of grant are available to ratepayers:

  1. £10,000 grant to ratepayers of businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief. Business with a rateable value up to £18,000 are eligible. You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief, Fresh Start Relief and Business Growth Accelerator but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.
  2. Retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 – £50,999 can apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.

Please contact our local authority, South Lanarkshire Council, for more.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme is now open for applications. You need to create a UK Government Gateway account in order to apply. You can also read this step-by-step guide for employers (20 April 2020). The Job Retention Scheme has also been extended to four months, covering period from 1 March to end of June (17 April 2020)

Companies House Support

Companies House will give businesses the time they need to update their records and help them avoid being struck off the register (16 April 2020).

Need more?

To the best of our knowledge, the information we are sharing is accurate and current.

We will do all we can to maintain this information to help support those in our community.

You can find more information through this link from South Lanarkshire Council.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hamilton Town News

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