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Visit Scotland | Alba

As it becomes available, this page will be updated with the latest financial advice to support tourism and events businesses. Last updated: 19 January.

Summary of financial support to business in Scotland

Scheme

What's covered 

How to access

Generic Support

Strategic Framework Business Fund

This fund is for businesses required to close by law or to significantly change their operations due to COVID-19 restrictions from 2 November 2020. 

Applications to the Strategic Framework Business Fund should be made through your local authority website. Find out more on the Find Business Support website.  

Local Authority Discretionary Fund

A £120 million fund will be distributed by local authorities across Scotland. It will help with the short-term financial challenges being experienced by businesses. Eligibility and criteria vary, so check your local authority website for details. This is for businesses who have not been eligible for previous business support grants.

Find out more on the Find Business Support website.

DigitalBoost Development Grant Fund

This £10m fund is open to Scottish businesses to help them do more with
digital in these challenging times. Funded by The Scottish Government in conjunction with Business Gateway and its DigitalBoost programme.
Businesses who are VAT registered can apply for grants of up to £25K. For VAT registered businesses all VAT costs are
excluded from the grant sum awarded.
Businesses who are not VAT registered can apply for grants of up to 5K.

Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

The current levels of applications are in excess of the available budget for the DigitalBoost Development Grant, therefore new registrations have been suspended - further information.

SDS Apprenticeship Employer Grant

A new Apprenticeship Employer Grant has been made available to further support employers when taking on Modern or Graduate Apprentices within their business. 

Visit the Apprenticeships.scot website for further information

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021. Employees receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

This is part of the government's Plan for Jobs and aims to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales. 

You can find information on this scheme at Gov.uk

Young people can find out more about the Kickstart Scheme at the jobhelp site.

Digital Enablement Loan

The Digital Development Loan is a Scottish Government initiative to help improve Scotland’s digital productivity. It is available to Scottish SMEs, who have been trading at least 6 months to help meet upfront costs of improving digital use.

  • Borrow between £5,000 – £100,000

  • Interest free

  • Up to 5 years repayment terms

  • No early repayment fees

  • ScotGov funded

Check eligibility and apply online.

VAT reduction

VAT in the hospitality and tourism sectors on food, accommodation and attractions will be cut from 20% to 5% as part of the Government’s three phased economic response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The government  has extended the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March 2021.

Read on for more information about this announcement. 

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Small businesses can apply for quick and easy-to-access loans and borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with the cash arriving within days. Loans will be 100% government backed for lenders, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will benefit from a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. This will provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan.

Scheme extended for applications to until the end of March 2021.

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Government backed loans and other financial support up to £5 million provided by the British Business Bank via participating lenders. Interest-free for first 12 months.

The UK Government has announced that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be extended until 31 March 2021. 

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Business rates relief

1.6% rates relief for all occupied non-domestic properties in Scotland from 1 April 2020. 

100% rates relief for occupied retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from 1 April 2020.

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

Business rates relief - Applied automatically by local authorities. 

Income tax deferral

Income tax self-assessment payments for the self-employed due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Automatic - no applications needed

HMRC Time to Pay

Support from HMRC for all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities. Agreed on a case-by-case basis by HMRC, tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

More information if you cannot pay your tax bill on time.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme 

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees. Delivered via UK Government.

Find out if you can use the Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

COVID Corporate Financing Facility 

The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies, allowing companies affected by a short-term funding squeeze to finance their short-term liabilities. 

Bank of England. Scheme is now available for applications. Read more from the Bank of England.

Tourism Sector

Scotland's Tour Guides Fund

The £3 million fund has been established to provide financial support to Scottish businesses in the attractions sector that have been severely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to help keep them in business while restrictions on opening and travel are still in place, and to support them to prepare to operate in 2021 when restrictions are lifted. 

Guidance for applicants is now available and applications will be live from 12pm on Wednesday 3 March 2021 until 5pm on Wednesday 10 March 2021. 

Hostel COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund 

The £2.3 million fund is open to proprietors of hostel businesses. They may be a sole trader, a partnership, a company limited by shares or by guarantee, a registered charity, a Scottish limited partnership or any other legal entity recognised under Scots Law.  

Applications are now live until 12pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021.  

Scottish Country Sports Tourism Restart Fund

The fund has been established to support the Scottish country sports tourism sector to survive the impacts of COVID-19. It's aimed at providing lifeline support to sporting agencies, guided sporting services, land-based sporting businesses and fishing charter operators.

Applications are now live until 5pm on Wednesday 3 March 2021. 

Scotland Tour Operator Fund

The fund is open to Scottish based businesses in the tour operator sector critical to Scotland’s tourism economy. The two strands are: 

  • Scotland Inbound Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund  
  • Scotland Day Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund

Guidance is currently being reviewed in line with industry feedback, the revised version will be available on VisitScotland.org early next week, with applications now going live on 4 March. 

Large Self-Catering Grant

This fund is for larger self-catering properties impacted by the single household restrictions during COVID-19. The grant will make one-off payments of £2,000 to eligible applicants. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment. There is no need to apply.

Find out more on the Find Business Support website.

Bed and Breakfast Grant

This fund provides financial support for B&Bs in Scotland that do not pay non-domestic rates, but do pay council tax, and which have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment from 15 February 2021. There is no need to apply.

Find out more on the Find Business Support website

Exclusive Use Grant

This fund provides financial support for exclusive use properties impacted by the single household restrictions during COVID-19. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment from 15 February 2021. There is no need to apply.

Find out more on the Find Business Support website

Support for Travel Agents

This fund is to support travel agents in Scotland. 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.

Local authorities will contact travel agents in their area directly to seek the necessary information to confirm their eligibility and process payment. Find out more about the fund on the Scottish Government website.

Hospitality Industry

 Regional Food Fund 

The Regional Food Fund offers grants of up to £5,000 to support projects and initiatives that promote the development of food and drink across Scotland. The funding is aligned to the Food Tourism Scotland Action Plan and is part of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan, supported by Scottish Government.

Applications are now live on the Scotland Food and Drink website. Applications close at 5pm on 15 March 2021. 

Diageo 'Raising the Bar' 

A global programme to support pubs and bars welcoming customers back and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. “Raising the Bar” will be a two-year programme and is available now.

“Raising the Bar” will be a two-year programme available from July 2020.

Register your interest for the programme.

Self-Employed 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.

The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021.

Check the eligibility criteria and apply online

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

This grant scheme is designed to help alleviate financial hardship for newly self-employed people, offering a one-off £4,000 payment for those whose status as being newly self-employed makes them ineligible for the UK Government’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

The fund is now live and being provided by the Scottish Government anb deadline for applications is 5pm on 16 March 2021.

Events Industry Specific

Scotland's Events Recovery Fund

Now open and available for applications. The £2.75m fund is designed to support the restart of events and help organisers meet the additional costs of COVID-19 mitigation in event planning and delivery. 

For more information on the fund and how to apply, visit the Events Recovery Fund page.

Cultural Sector

 Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund

Zoos and aquariums impacted financially by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are being invited to apply for a new round of emergency funding.

Applications have opened for the Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund, with up to £2.5 million available to support animal care and key conservation work.

 

The Scottish Government has extended the scheme to support conservation projects, which could otherwise be forced to stop due to funding shortfalls.

COVID-19 Museum Development Fund

Open to organisations that manage Accredited museums that have not been eligible for the Recovery and Resilience Fund. 

There will be two rounds of funding, closing on 13 November 2020 and 5 February 2021

You can find out more information at Museum Galleries Scotland website.

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

To support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds offer a one-off monetary contribution to those who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the emergency situation. Whilst there are no deadlines for this programme, the nature of this fund is that it will only remain open whilst budget remains available.

Fund administered by Creative Scotland. Find out more

Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development

The fund aims to enable individuals and organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances. The fund is open all year round, with no deadlines and can support activity for up to 12 months.

Fund administered by Creative Scotland. Find out more.

Other

Ski Centre Support Fund 

A £3 million fund will be made available to support snowsport centres

This fund is now open. Eligible businesses will be contacted by the enterprise agencies

Support for Indoor Football Centres

The Scottish Government is providing funding support for Indoor Football Centres in Scotland. 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. 

Local authorities will contact indoor football centres in their area directly to confirm their eligibility and process payment. Find out more about the fund on the Scottish Government website.

Brewers Support Fund

This fund is to support Scotland's brewing sector. 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. Find out more about the fund on the Scottish Government website.

Scottish Wedding Industry Fund

A £25 million fund to support the wedding sector and its supply chain will open to applications this week.

In recognition of the ongoing challenges faced by the sector, a further £10 million has been added to the £15 million announced in December.

Launching on Thursday (28 January) the fund will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 for eligible businesses in the sector impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including wedding venues, photographers, caterers and suppliers.

The fund is managed regionally by South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Find out more on the Scottish Government website.

Better Places Green Recovery Fund

Awards of between £5,000 and £20,000 are being offered to successful NGO or community-led projects which will help to plan for the future management of nature sites in a low-impact and sustainable way, improving the experience for both visitors and local communities.

Closing date for applications of 29 January 2021.

For more information and to apply visit the NatureScot website. 

Support for nightclubs and soft play

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.

The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

If you’re eligible, you must make your claim for the third grant on or before 29 January 2021.

You do not need to apply for this funding.  Your local authority will contact you shortly to begin the process of gathering information in support of your claim. Read more on the fund.

Taxi and Private Hire Fund

If you are a licensed taxi or private hire driver experiencing financial challenge as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £1,500.

If you are eligible for a grant your local authority will get in touch with you, starting from week commencing 18 January 2021. You do not need to contact them. Find out more information on the Scottish Government website. 

 

 

Scheme's closed

What's covered

How to access

Events Industry Support Fund 2 

The £3.9 million fund was delivered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, with development input from the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG).

The Fund is open to new applicants who were ineligible to apply to the Events Industry Support Fund launched in August 2020.

CLOSED

The Scotland Coach Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund

The Scotland Coach Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund was established to provide financial support for Scottish for Scottish based businesses.

CLOSED

Scottish Visitor Attractions Support Fund 

The fund was established to provide financial support to Scottish businesses in the attractions sector that have been severely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to help keep them in business while restrictions on opening and travel are still in place, and to support them to prepare for reopening in 2021 when restrictions are lifted. 

CLOSED

Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund 

The Marine & Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund was established to support the marine, boating and outdoor adventure sectors who have been significantly affected by COVID-19 and are faced with seasonal re-commissioning and re-start costs ahead of the 2021 season.   

The £2.5 million fund is being delivered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and has been developed with Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland. 

CLOSED 

Pivotal Event Business Fund

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund has been established to provide financial support to event businesses critical to Scotland’s events sector and without whom our capacity to deliver major events would be significantly reduced.

Applicants can apply for grants from £25,000 up to a maximum £150,000. 

CLOSED

Sector & Destination Operational and Market Readiness Fund (COVID-19)

The Sector & Destination Operational and Market Readiness Fund provides support for established multi-regional or pan-Scotland tourism sector groups and destination organisations who represent the interests of a substantive number of tourism businesses and stakeholders within their destination and sector and whose role is critical to the ongoing success of the tourism industry in Scotland to prepare for a post-COVID-19 environment.

CLOSED

Travelling Show People Support Fund

The Travelling Showpeople Fund offered one-off grants of £10,000 to support travelling show people in Scotland whose work and income has been negatively affected by COVID-19.

CLOSED

Culture Collective Fund

The Culture Collective programme established a network of creative practitioners, organisations and communities, working together to create a positive difference locally and nationally in response to COVID-19.

CLOSED

Hotel Recovery Programme

Help protect sustainable employment in the medium term within larger hotels in Scotland.

This programme consisted of £14 million funding from the Scottish Government, plus bespoke packages of wrap-around business support provided by Scotland’s enterprise agencies and their partners.

CLOSED

VAT deferral

VAT deferral for all businesses from 20 March until 30 June 2020. 

CLOSED. The VAT payments deferral scheme ended on 30 June 2020 as previously set out. 
If you have cancelled your Direct Debit to HMRC to take advantage of the deferral see guidance on what you need to do now

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Scheme for Self-Catering Businesses

Applications for the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Scheme for Self-Catering Businesses, which will be administered by VisitScotland, was live for one week from 3 August.

The fund was available for businesses who haven’t received any support via other funds as a result of the current pandemic. Applicants will be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £10,000.

CLOSED

B&B hardship fund

B&Bs operating from a personal bank account can now apply for a share of £3 million as part of the Scottish Government Business Support Fund.

CLOSED. Summary of applications and grant statistics.

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

This grant is for businesses that can play a critical role in supporting Scotland’s recovery but need some immediate support. It might be to get back up and running or to maintain or diversify your current operations.

CLOSED. Summary of applications and grant statistics.

 

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

New support announced for the newly self-employed and firms suffering hardship in a £100 million fund. 
This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.

CLOSED. Summary of applications and grant statistics.

Scottish Government Small Business Support Grant

A one-off grant of £10,000 for small businesses who get Small Business Bonus Scheme relief or Rural Relief.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,000 to £51,000 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000. 

CLOSED

Wellbeing scheme

Wellbeing Fund for Scottish third sector organisation providing important coronavirus services for the community.

CLOSED
 

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Restaurants could use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme to offer a 50% discount to diners, up to a maximum of £10 per person, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020. Businesses could then claim the money back from the government.

CLOSED Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

Small  Business Support Fund

The Scottish Government introduced the Business Support Fund, which small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business could benefit.

These grants were only available for business who pay non-domestic rates.

CLOSED Find out more on grant closures and application deadlines

Events sector recovery package

A funding package of £10 million has been established to help the events sector recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This includes a £6 million Events Industry Support Fund open to businesses in the events industry, and particularly those in the supply chain, that can demonstrate events in Scotland are their primary source of income.

Businesses that have not yet been able to access any of the previous government support mechanisms will be prioritised.

CLOSED Find further details on the criteria and fund. Applications closed at noon on Monday 14 September.

Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

Creative Scotland is administering the recently announced £15m Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund which will support organisations that provide opportunities for cultural engagement and who have been unable to trade due to the impact of COVID-19.

The fund will open for applications on Thursday 17 September and awards will be made by the first week in November.

CLOSED 

Coronavirus Restrictions Fund

One-off grants of up to £3,000, depending on rateable value, to bars, restaurants and other businesses required to close by regulations.

A hardship fund with grants of up to £1,500 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 from 9 October.

Up to £9 million of funding will help with the costs of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20% salary contribution required by the UK Government.

A discretionary fund of up to £11 million will help businesses that need support but don’t fall into the above categories.

Local authority websites will be updated at 9am on Tuesday 20 October, allowing business to complete applications and will close on Tuesday 3 November at 5pm.

CLOSED

Museum Recovery and Resilience Fund

This fund comes from the £97 million package of funding to protect Scotland’s culture and heritage sectors from the impacts of COVID-19.

The fund is intended to prevent museums from running out of funds before 31 March 2021.

CLOSED

Aberdeen | Local restrictions business support fund

A £1 million support fund for businesses in Aberdeen. The fund is delivered by Aberdeen City Council and it will provide grants of up to £1,500 for hospitality businesses that have been required to close.

A small part of the fund will also be used to help other businesses which – while they have been able to remain open – have felt the financial impact of the restrictions. For example – supply chain businesses, certain hotels or shops.

CLOSED

 

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