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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: 2 November.

Summary of financial support to business in Scotland



What's covered

How to access

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.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Furlough Scheme was due to finish 31 October 2020.

Has been extended in England with further restrictions announced 31 Oct and will remain open until December. Employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Further clarification on what this means for Scotland will be updated.

To be replaced with the new Job Support Scheme and extension of Self Employment Income Support Scheme

For more information on the latest changes to the scheme.

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) use this scheme if you're eligible to claim the grant.

An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. 

An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.

The grant will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19. The scheme will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.

The scheme is now open. 

Extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was announced 24 September 

Check the eligibility criteria and apply online

NEW: Support for nightclubs and soft play

One-off grants of up to £50,000 will be available to businesses in both the nightclub and soft play sector through the COVID-19 Contingency Fund. Grants will be based on rateable value.

Businesses operating multiple premises will be eligible to claim one full grant plus grants of up to 75% on subsequent properties.

We will update as guidance is published.

More information on this fund is available at

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.

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. The first placements are likely to be available from November.

You can find information on this scheme at

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

Digital Enablement Grant

Businesses, communities and social enterprises based in the Highlands and Islands and with an existing relationship with HIE, can now apply for funding to develop their use of digital technology.

The Digital Enablement Grant support is in the form of a voucher and each is worth a maximum of £25,000, with HIE covering 75% of eligible project costs. The money will benefit those who want to adopt new technologies to make a difference to their organisation and help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19.


Enquiries can be emailed to HIE digital team.

Hotel Recovery Programme

A new Hotel Support Programme has been launched to help protect sustainable employment in the medium term within larger hotels in Scotland.

This new programme consists 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.

All information including full eligibility criteria and details of how to submit an expression of interest can be found on the cross-agency websiteFind Business Support website


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  will extend the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.

Read on for more information about this announcement. (24 September)

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.

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 30 November 2020.

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. 

We will update on the Pay as you grow system as details are available.

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.

Scheme extended for applications to 30 November 2020.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - operational from 23 March 2020. 

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.

Museums Resilience and Recovery Fund

A £4 million Museums Resilience and Recovery Fund will provide support for Scotland’s museums and galleries. The fund will aid the return of staff from furlough and the wider reopening of museums and galleries.

Apply for fund administered by Museums and Galleries Scotland. 

Events Funding Package

The Scottish Government is providing £10 million of funding to help the events sector recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Find out more on the Scottish Government 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 COVID19 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.

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

Find out more


Scheme's closed

What's covered

How to access

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.


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. 


Wellbeing scheme

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


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.


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.


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.


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.



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