Latest business news and support for business in Forth Valley

These are unprecedented times. We completely understand the challenges businesses are facing and the extremely difficult decisions that have to be made to survive. To make the right decisions, you need information, but there is so much out there. In order to help lift the fog, we have created this news page which will focus on the available business support, both financial and advisory. We will search the internet and social media to provide links to only the most succinct and reliable information… plus highlight how other local businesses are managing and surviving.

Please get involved and communicate news that could help other businesses. If you wish to supply news for our page, please email jtervit@ceteris.co.uk.

Stay safe everyone.

Test and Protect: www.protect.scot

Click here for a list of local businesses that are providing goods or services throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Clackmannanshire Business Support Partners

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Business Gateway – Virtual & Local Business Support

Clackmannanshire Council – Support for Businesses & Self employed

Alloa First – Get in touch

Clacksfirst BID – News & Updates

Clacks Third Sector Interface – News & Guidance

Discover Clackmannanshire – News and updates

Visit Scotland – Advice and Information

Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce – Contact Details

FSB – Advice & guidance for SME & self-employed

Key Information

Scottish Government – Coronavirus in Scotland

UK Government – Guidance for Business

Scottish Enterprise – Business Continuity Advice

Scottish Chambers of Commerce – Advice & Guidance

CBI – Coronavirus Hub

BBC Scotland Business News

Contact Us

Email Ceteris: support@ceteris.co.uk

Tel Ceteris: 01259 721454

Email Business Gateway: businessgateway@ceteris.co.uk

Tel Business Gateway: 01259 726430

Tuesday 4th May

5pm: Gumtree want to help small businesses and know how hard the COVID crisis has impacted them. They’ve partnered with award-winning smart business account provider Tide to launch our Small Business Blast-off Competition. Together they’ll be giving one small business owner a £10,000 cash injection.They’ve also teamed up with three other amazing brands O2 Business, SumUp and Builder.ai to give two runner-up businesses £5,000 each. Apply here.

Friday 30th April

12:30pm: The Scottish Government have released a Business Reopening Toolkit. Access it here.

Monday 26th April 

9:00am: From today (Monday 26 April), hospitality venues such as cafés, pubs and restaurants can reopen, along with tourist accommodation. Non-essential retail outlets and close contact services such as beauty salons can also reopen, in addition to indoor attractions and public buildings such as galleries, museums and libraries. More here about moving to level 3.

Wednesday 21st April

12:10pm: Hospitality, gyms and shops to open from Monday (26th April). First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the most significant stage in Scotland’s lockdown easing will go ahead as planned on Monday. More details about moving to level 3 here.

12:05pm: Bank of England to consider digital money plan. The Bank of England and the Treasury have announced they are setting up a taskforce to explore the possibility of a central bank digital currency. More here.

Friday 16th April

9:45am: The Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest has relaunched its enterprise programme to boost its support for scale-up businesses, as well as climate, fintech, and B-Corp focussed businesses. More details here.

Wednesday 14th April

5:35pm: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) fourth grant instalment. If you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, you can apply for a taxable grant through the SEISS. More here.

1:00pm: The deadline for the Rural Food & Drink Business Adaptation Grant Scheme is tomorrow (15th) at 5pm. Don’t miss out if you are a rural food and drink business. More and how to apply here.

Tuesday 13th April

5:45pm: Travel ban in Scotland to be lifted from Friday. The Covid-19 restriction on travelling around Scotland is to be lifted from Friday, while people are to be allowed to meet up in larger groups outdoors. More here.

11:00am: Covid vaccine programme rolled out to over-45s this week. The next phase in Scotland’s Covid vaccination programme will get under way this week as over-45s start to receive invitations in the post. More here.

Monday 12th April

10:00am: SMART SCOTLAND grant – Applications open – The SMART SCOTLAND grant is a research and development (R&D) grant offered by Scottish Enterprise to support high-risk, highly ambitious projects. More details here.

Wednesday 7th April

4:30pm: Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) – The Recovery Loan Scheme will provide support to UK businesses as they recover and grow following the disruption of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More details here.

4:20pm: Large Self-Catering Grant – Fund closes Friday. The fund will close on 9 April 2021. Businesses that have yet to return any documentation must do so by this date to receive payment. More here.

4:10pm: Business Rates Relief – The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates relief discounts to help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of coronavirus. More here.

Wednesday 31st March

9:10am: ‘Stay at Home’ Rule to End on Friday (2nd April). Scotland’s “stay at home” lockdown order will be lifted on Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. More here.

Tuesday 30th March

10:50am: Support for Travel Agents & Indoor Football Centres – Deadline Wednesday (31st). This fund is to support travel agents in Scotland. The Scottish Government recognises the specific challenges faced by this sector and one-off grants will be given through local authorities to eligible businesses. More here

9:10am: The Academy delivered by Scotland Food & Drink Partnership a unique, market-focused, and commercially orientated training programme that helps Scottish food and drink businesses – at every stage of their growth journey – sell themselves, build their brands and thrive in grocery and foodservice markets. More details here.

Friday 26th March

3.30pm: Reminder that the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will close to new applications on Wednesday 31 March 2021.

3.00pm: Reminder, the Coronavirus Resilience and Recovery Fund for Legal Aid closes for applications on 31 March 2021 at midnight.

2.50pm: Reminder, the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund for social enterprise and charities closes to new applications at midnight on 31 March 2021.

10:30am: Discretionary fund deadline has been extended to 31st March. More here

9:35am: HMRC has sent letters to VAT-registered businesses in Great Britain trading with the EU, highlighting the new rules and actions to take for importing goods from or exporting goods to the EU. More here.

9:30am: Get Support to Expand your Workforce – Get the support you need to build your future workforce through the Young Person’s Guarantee. This offers the opportunity of a job, placement, training or volunteering for every 16 to 24-year-old in Scotland according to their personal goals and ambitions. More here.

Wednesday 24th March

12:30pm: The Scottish Government have released a timetable for the easing of lockdown and restrictions. Full timetable here.

12:25pm: Scotland’s Creative Digital Initiative – A new £1 million digital support programme for creative and cultural businesses has launched. More here.

Wednesday 17th March 

2:40pm: Hairdressers and garden centres will be allowed to reopen in Scotland from 5 April, days after the “stay at home” lockdown order will be lifted.

1:30pm: Scottish Government announces ‘stay at home’ order to be lifted on 2nd April 2021.

Tuesday 16th March

10:40am: The Scottish Government has confirmed that the application deadlines for the Mobile And Home Based Close Contact Services Fund and the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund have both been extended to 23:59 on the 23rd of March. More here.

9:25am: The UK Government’s SME Brexit Support Fund is opening for applications later today – please see UKGOV and a new PwC microsite for further info. The Fund is targeted at SMEs who only trade with the EU, and provides grants to support professional advice around customs, excise, import VAT and safety/security declaration requirements.

9:15am: Clackmannanshire Council have released the 2nd round of their Discretionary Fund to provide direct financial support to businesses in the Clackmannanshire Council area, specifically to mitigate immediate financial challenges arising from the Covid-19 restrictions and regulations announced in October 2020. Apply here.

Thursday 11th March

9:10am: Apprenticeship Employer Grant – Applications Open. The Apprenticeship Employer Grant can help you take on a Modern or Graduate Apprentice within your business. It can also be used to develop the skills of an existing employee. Applications will be accepted until 25 March 2021. More here.

9:00am: Mobile And Home Based Close Contact Services Fund – Deadline to Apply Next Week. This funding is being provided by the Scottish Government. Eligible applicants will receive a one-off £4,000 payment (£2,000 for the period to end December 2020 and a further £2,000 to cover the period from January 2021 onwards). The deadline for applications is 5pm on 16 March 2021. More here.

Wednesday 10th March

9.00am: The First Minister confirmed the following changes to the current lockdown restrictions in a statement to Parliament yesterday:

  • From Friday 12 March, up to four adults from two households to meet locally in any outdoor space, including private gardens, for exercise and social and recreational reasons. Young people aged 12 to 17 will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to four people from four different households.
  • From Friday 12 March, outdoor non-contact sports and group exercise will also resume for adults in groups of up to 15 people. Young people aged 12 to 17 will be able to participate in outdoor non-contact sports, and other organised activities in groups of up to 15 and travel across local authority boundaries to participate in such activities.

Tuesday 9th March

1.00pm: Stand 2 of the Hostel COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund is now open for applications. Find out more.

9.00am: The Recovery Loan Scheme will provide support to UK businesses as they recover and grow following the disruption of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Businesses of any size will be able to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. The UK Government will guarantee 80% of the finance and loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. The scheme launches on 6 April 2021 and is open until 31 December 2021, subject to review. More details.

Friday 5th March

3.00pm: The UK Government is allowing VAT-registered businesses to apply a temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% to certain supplies relating to:

  • hospitality
  • hotel and holiday accommodation
  • admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate of 5% has been extended, and will now apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022, a VAT rate of 12.5% will apply. Guidance  on which supplies are eligible for the reduced rate of VAT and how the changes will affect different types of businesses is available here.

Thursday 4th March

10:50am: UK Budget Unveiled – The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled the contents of his Budget in the House of Commons. Full summary from the Scottish Chamber of Commerce here.

10:55am: Scotland Tour Operators Fund – Applications Open. More here.

Wednesday 3 March

2.15pm: In the Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a range of measures to help businesses and jobs through the pandemic as well as a series of tax-raising plans to help rebalance public finances. Some of the key points are:

  • Furlough will be extended until the end of September 2021. The government will continue paying 80% of employees’ wages for hours they cannot work with employers asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September.
  • Support for the self-employed is also extended until September 2021 with 600,000 more self-employed people eligible for help as access to grants is widened.
  • The VAT rate for hospitality firms is to be maintained at 5% until September 2021 and an interim 12.5% rate will apply for the following six months to March 2022.
  • The rate of corporation tax will rise to 25% in 2023, but with protection for smaller businesses with a new small profits rate maintaining the 19% rate for firms with profits of £50,000 or less.
  • The minimum wage will increase to £8.91 an hour from April 2021.

A full summary of the key points can be found here.

Monday 1 March

9.20am: The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers, including the Screen Hardship Fund, re-opens at 2pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021. There will be a total of £9 million of Scottish Government funding available. The fund will be open to both new and previous applicants to apply for up to £2,000 through the online application portal. This fund is administrated by Creative Scotland. Find out more.

9.20am: Scotland Tour Guides Fund opens this week on 4 March 2021. The £3 million fund is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by VisitScotland, with development input from the Scottish Tourist Guides Association and other industry partners. VisitScotland is the awarding body for this fund and guidance and eligibility criteria is available on their website now. Find out more.

9.15am: Scotland Tour Operators Fund goes live this week on 4 March 2021. Due to the complexity and breadth of businesses within the sector, a two-strand approach to grant funding is necessary to meet the needs of the sector. 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

The £15 million fund is being delivered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and has been developed with input from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Destination Management Association, the Scottish Incoming Golf Tour Operators Association, UK Inbound and the Scottish Independent Tour Operators Association. Find out more.

Friday 26 February

3.30pm: The next Ecommerce Growth Club will be held on Tuesday 2nd March at 9:30am and will be really useful for those wanting to go on Amazon or already on Amazon. The speaker is Isobel Wormald of Optimizon on How to get the best out of your Amazon listings. Book your FREE ticket.

Wednesday 24 February

9.30am: The HMRC VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme online service is now open. Over half a million businesses that deferred VAT payments between March and June 2020 will now be given the option to pay their deferred VAT in equal consecutive monthly instalments from March 2021. They will need to opt-in to the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme online on GOV.UK.  Agents will be available to advise and support businesses both prior to and during the opt-in process. The scheme closes on 21 June 2021.

Tuesday 23 February

3.30pm: The First Minister has announced Scotland’s roadmap out of lockdown. The reopening of the economy, including shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers is expected to start in the last week of April. Nicola Sturgeon said the aim in Scotland was to move fully back to a levels system of restrictions at that point. The immediate priority will continue to be the phased return of education, building on the return of some pupils to school yesterday. It is hoped that all primary and more secondary pupils will return to school from 15 March and that the stay at home restriction is lifted on 5 April. More information.

9.20am: A reminder that any late self-assessment tax returns must be made by the 28th February deadline. While 10.7 million taxpayers filed their return by 31 January 2021, more than 1.5 million taxpayers missed this deadline. They are accruing interest on any unpaid tax liabilities but still have time to file without incurring a Late Filing Penalty of £100. Those who owe tax have until midnight on 1 April to pay any outstanding tax or set up a Time to Pay plan to prevent a 5% Late Payment Penalty.

Monday 22 February

4.00pm: The Scottish Wedding Industry Fund will close on 25th February 2021 at 5pm.  Any eligible businesses whose main income comes from the wedding sector should apply as soon as possible.

Friday 19th February

9.30am: The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Restart Fund is a £1 million fund which provides immediate support to tourism businesses within the country sports sector, the majority of which have to date been ineligible for other funding. The fund will open for applications at midday on Wednesday 24 February 2021 with fund guidance available now via the VisitScotland website.

9.00am: The Events Industry Support Fund 2 is now open for applications via VisitScotland. The fund will close for applications at 5pm on Friday 26 February 2021.

Wednesday 17th February

3:00pm: University of Stirling and University of Dundee with Forth Valley College – Scottish Apprenticeship Employer Event, Thursday March 18, 1pm till 2:15pm . This online event will give employers the opportunity to find out more about the fully funded Scottish Apprenticeship Family (Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships) and how they can help to develop talent, boost performance and grow your business. More info here.

Tuesday 16th February

5.00pm: Retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals from the Scottish Government. It is one of a series of measures proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending. Newspapers will also continue to benefit from 100% relief for a further 12 months, while charitable rates relief will not be removed from mainstream independent schools until 1 April 2022 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

2.00pm: New Scottish Government funds worth £60million for the newly self-employed, close contact businesses and driving instructors opened at 1pm today. The Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Fund is available for mobile and home-based contact service businesses – such as make-up artists and hairdressers – as well as registered driving instructors. The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund is re-opening for a second round of applications. Both funds will provide £4,000 grants to successful applicants.

9.45am: Scotland Coach Operators Covid-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund opens to applications today at 12pm and will be open until 5pm on Tuesday 23 February 2021. Find out more.

9.30 am: A reminder that the Visitor Attractions Support Fund is now open for applications via the VisitScotland website. The deadline for applications is 5pm Thursday 18 February 2021.

9.00am: The Treasury has announced a further £1.1 billion of coronavirus support funding for the Scottish Government. The UK Government said the cash takes the amount allocated through the Barnett formula north of the border since the start of the pandemic to £9.7 billion. It said the £1.1 billion can be spent now or carried over into the 2021/22 financial year. The Scottish Government welcomed the funding and pledged to set out plans for the cash within days. More info.

 Monday 15th February

9.30am: New Travel Quarantine Rules have come into effect. Everyone who arrives directly in Scotland by air from outside the Common Travel Area (the CTA, comprising United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands) must book and pay for managed isolation in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days from arrival. This applies to arrivals from all countries outside the CTA and includes British citizens.

9.00am: A reminder that claims for furlough days in January through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme must be made by today, 15 February 2021.

8.00am: The Large Self-Catering Grant is now live. This fund is for larger self-catering properties in Scotland that have been impacted by the single household restrictions during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The grant will make one-off payments of £2,000 to eligible applicants. Self-catering businesses are eligible if they have a property which accommodates seven or more people, and for which they pay non-domestic rates. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment. There is no need to apply. Find out more.

8.00am: The Exclusive Use Grant is now live. It provides financial support for exclusive use properties in Scotland that have been impacted by the single household restrictions during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The grant will make one-off payments of £10,000 to eligible applicants. 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.

8.00am: The grant for B&Bs Paying Council Tax is now live. This fund will provide B&Bs that pay council tax, but not non-domestic rates, with financial support equivalent to the Strategic Framework Business Fund Level 4 payments. This amounts to grants of £2,000 every four weeks. 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.

Friday 12th February

9.30am: The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% in 2020 as coronavirus restrictions hit output, official figures show. The contraction in 2020 “was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. More information.

9.00am: The UK Government has announced a £20 million Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. At this time, the UK Government has said this will only be open to SMEs who trade with the EU. These SMEs are encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. The fund will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme and will open for applications in March. Find out more.

Thursday 11th February

2.00pm: A further £17.5 million of emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) funding has been allocated to support creative freelancers and the events sector in Scotland. Find out more.

9:35am: £23 Million Seafood Disruption Support Scheme Now Open. Seafood exporting businesses across the UK that have been affected by the challenges of adjusting to new requirements for exporting to the EU can apply for financial support from the UK Government. More here.

9:30am: Local Authority Discretionary Fund Doubled to £120 Million. Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP has confirmed that the Local Authority Discretionary Fund will be doubled to £120 million to allow councils to respond further to local economic pressures. More here.

9.00am: The Coronavirus Resilience and Recovery Fund for Legal Aid providing financial support to enable Scottish legal firms and Scottish law centres to continue to offer legal aid services to the public is now live. Find out more.

Wednesday 10th February

4:45pm: The Scottish Government is providing grants for SMEs within the energy supply chain sector to help upskill their workforce as we move towards a decarbonised society. Energy Saving Trust is partnering with the Energy Skills Partnership (ESP) to ensure the supply chain workforce is equipped with valuable low carbon heat skills. These are in great demand, especially as Scotland works towards achieving its goal of net zero carbon by 2045. Air and ground source heat pump four day courses are now available through a number of colleges in Scotland. Enrolment per SME will be limited to a maximum of five, with the minimum qualification requirement being a Level VQ3 or equivalent. Energy Saving Trust warmly encourages you, or your workforce, to act now before all funding is allocated. Further information can be found here. If you have any queries, please email skillsfund@esp-scotland.ac.uk.

9.05am: Grants of £750 are being paid to all registered childminders in Scotland in order to secure the sustainability of their businesses. Funding of more than £3.2 million has been made available to ensure that all childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate will receive the flat-rate payment. More information.

9.00am: All arrivals to Scotland on an international flight must book and pay for managed isolation in quarantine hotels to help protect against the importation of Coronavirus (COVID-19) from 15 February. All arrivals must quarantine for at least ten days at a cost of £1,750 per individual traveller and will be tested twice for the virus – once on day two and once on day eight after arrival. A small number of arrivals will not be required to isolate, such as those involved in essential supply chains for goods coming into Scotland. More details.

Tuesday 9th February

9.00am: The Chancellor has announced the extension of the Bounce Back Loan Repayment Terms to 10 years and the introduction of greater flexibility in repayments. Bounce Back Loan borrowers will now have the option to tailor payments according to their individual circumstances as part of the Treasury’s Pay as You Grow (PAYG).  Repayment options now include:

  • extending the length of the loan from six years to 10 at the same fixed interest rate of 2.5%
  • make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan
  • pause repayments entirely for up to six months. This option is available once during the term of the Bounce Back Loan.

The Chancellor has also extended the flexibility of the third option so that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out.

These Pay as You Grow (PAYG) options will be available to more than 1.4 million businesses which took out a total of nearly £45bn through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Businesses first began to receive the loans in May 2020 and the first repayments will become due from May 2021 onwards. Lenders will proactively and directly inform their customers of Pay as You Grow, and borrowers should only expect correspondence three months before their first repayments are due. Find out more.

Thursday 4th February

3.30pm: A reminder that the Strategic Framework Business Fund Retail Leisure and Hospitality Top Up closes to new applications tomorrow, Friday 5th February. More info.

Tuesday 2nd February

9.00am: The Clackmannanshire Discretionary Fund is now open for applications. This funding will provide direct financial support to businesses to mitigate immediate financial challenges arising from the Covid-19 restrictions and regulations announced in October 2020. It is a one off payment of £2000 and is aimed at small and micro-businesses (50 employees or fewer) which have been unable to access other funding and support since October 2020 and which are experiencing hardship.

The following businesses can apply:

  • Limited Company (including Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations and social enterprises)
  • Sole Traders
  • Trusts
  • Partnerships
  • Community Interest Companies
  • Freelancers
  • Self-employed
  • Sub-contractors

Applications should be submitted by 5pm on Monday 22nd February 2021 using the online application form.

Monday 1st February

11.00am: The FSB is holding a one-hour seminar this Thursday, 4th February, to discuss the Supreme Court Business Interruption Insurance Ruling regarding COVID-19. It will explore the various kinds of business interruption insurance extensions (disease clauses, prevention of access clauses and hybrid clauses) that were assessed in the case and what it means for businesses. You can find more details and book on to this event here.

10.30am: The next e-Commerce Growth Club takes place tomorrow, Tuesday 2nd February. It will explore how businesses can build their brand on Instagram and Facebook using influencers and get a return on investment. For businesses in the Forth Valley and beyond, it’s free to attend. Register here.

9.00am: A reminder that the Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers will close at midday on Monday 1 February 2021.

Friday 29th January

5.00pm: A reminder that applications for the Future Fund will close at 11:59pm on Sunday 31 January 2021. The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more.

1.20pm: The Brewers Support 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.

1.15pm: A fund providing support for indoor football centres will be administered through local authorities (your local council) and will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses. To be eligible, indoor football centres must operate from premises that pay Non-Domestic Rates and be wholly indoor. Hybrid centres with indoor and outdoor facilities are excluded. Local authorities will contact indoor football centres in their area directly 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.

1.10pm: A fund providing support for travel agents 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. If you haven’t been contacted by your local authority by 8 February 2021, please contact your local authority directly.

1.00pm: A £60 million Local Authority Discretionary 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.

12.00pm: A reminder that Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claims to the third grant must be made today, 29 January 2021.

9.00am: From Wednesday 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 to make it easier for employers to join. You can also choose to apply through a Kickstart gateway, including those supporting sole traders. Kickstart gateways already working with the scheme can continue to add more employers and job placements to their grant agreement. More information here.

Thursday 28th January

4.00pm: 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.

Wednesday 27th January 

11:30am: The national CAN DO Innovation Summit will explore how businesses can build sustainable growth and resilience after the global impact of COVID-19. Book here.

11:40am: Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Launches The Academy to Drive Sector Growth – The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership has launched a new and unique initiative to help businesses targeting growth, after the industry was one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 and Brexit. More information here.

Monday 25th January

15.00pm: HMRC has announced that self-assessment customers will not receive a penalty for submitting late online tax returns if they file by February 28 2020. Support is also available for customers who may need help with their tax liabilities. Once they have completed their 2019-20 tax return, customers can set up an online payment plan to spread self-assessment bills of up to £30,000 over up to 12 monthly instalments. Find out more.

13.00pm: The Scottish Wedding Industry Fund opens on 28 January and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. It will provide support to Scottish 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 based on turnover. The funding tiers are:

  • A £5,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £10,000 and £49,999
  • A £10,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £50,000 and £99,999
  • A £15,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £100,000 – £249,999
  • A £25,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover of more than £250,000

The fund will close as soon as all monies have been allocated. Click here for eligibility criteria and details of how and when to apply.

Friday 22nd January

10.00am: If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme. Those who deferred VAT and still have payments to make, can choose from three options:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021
  • opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021
  • contact HMRC if you need more help to pay

The online opt in process will be available in early 2021. Find out more.

9.30am: The second round of the Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund is open to Expressions of Interest from venues that did not apply previously and/or did not receive funding in the first round. The fund is intended to prevent music venues from closing permanently before end June 2021. Creative Scotland will accept applications for between £10k and £70k. The Expressions of Interest online portal is open now with a closing date of 12 noon Wednesday 27 January.

9.00am: Applications for the Future Fund will close at 11:59pm on Sunday 31 January 2021. All investors and companies must submit their parts of the application by this deadline in order to be considered. The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more.

Thursday 21st January

10:50am: Court decision opens up potential Covid-19 claims by Scottish businesses under business interruption insurance. More info here.

9.00am: VisitScotland has announced it is switching focus from marketing to funding for the next three months to administer nine of the Scottish Government tourism and hospitality funds. At the end of last year, the Scottish Government announced a £104.3m package for those tourism and hospitality businesses which have received little or no Covid-19 support so far. The aim is to have all funds launched by mid-February. These include:

  • The Sector Destination Operational & Market Readiness Fund – live.
  • Scotland Inbound Tour Operators – Covid-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund – expressions of interest open 22 January.
  • Outdoor Fund, which has two strands: marine tourism and outdoor tourism – opens last week of January.
  • Event Industry Support Fund – late January/early February.
  • Coach Operators Fund – first week of February.
  • Visitor attractions Fund – week commencing 8 February.
  • Hostels Fund – week commencing 15 February.

Wednesday 20th January

4:30pm: In addition to the Strategic Framework Business Fund, there are additional funds that will become available soon, to target financial support at those businesses and sectors that are not eligible. More info here.

Tuesday 19th January

2:00pm: Licensed taxi or private hire driver experiencing financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £1,500 through the Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund. Those eligible for a grant will be contacted by their local authority. Take a look at who is eligible.

Friday 15 January

2.00pm: Insurers must pay small firms for coronavirus-related losses following a Supreme Court ruling. Tens of thousands of small businesses could now receive insurance payouts covering losses from the first national lockdown. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought the case on behalf of policyholders with business interruption policies and the ruling could deliver more than a £100 million boost for Scotland’s small businesses. Find out more here.

12.00pm: UK economy shrank by 2.6% in November, thanks to additional coronavirus-related restrictions. However, the figure was better than expected despite showing the first drop in six months. Companies appear to have been better prepared, with some sectors staying open for business and many firms having already put in place plans to expand online operations. See more.

Wednesday 13 January

9:30am: The DigitalBoost Development Grant Fund Suspended – ‘The current levels of applications are in excess of the available budget for the DigitalBoost Development Grant, therefore new applications have been suspended. Please check back for regular updates’. Details.

Tuesday 12 January

2.00pm: The DigitalBoost Development Grant Fund opened today. If you are running a business in Scotland and want to do more with digital; for example to, increase productivity, safeguard jobs, improve cyber security, build online booking systems, develop apps or invest in hardware/software then this fund may be applicable to you. Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. For more information on eligibility criteria, FAQs and to start your application click visit the dedicated DigitalBoost website.

Monday 11 January

5:00pm: 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 of:

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000
  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.  For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January. Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.

 Thursday 7 January

13:50pm: The Scottish Government has published a Local Energy Policy Statement to help ensure local energy projects benefit local communities, aligning with the overall vision for recovery from COVID-19 in a way that builds a fairer and greener society and economy.

12:00pm: Those on the shielding list are being strongly recommended to not go to work during lockdown if they are unable to work from home. The Chief Medical Officer is writing to everyone on the list this week to set out advice. More information is available here.

Wednesday 6 January

9:20am: ‘Stay at Home’ Order Comes into Force. Tough new lockdown restrictions forbidding people from leaving home for non-essential reasons have come into force across the Scottish mainland. Schools will remain closed to most pupils until at least the beginning of February. Stay at home guidance can be found here.

Tuesday 5 January

8.45am:   After yesterday’s announcement by the First Minister, we are once again in a national lockdown. There will be a legal requirement for people to stay at home for the rest of January, similar to the national lockdown in March last year, in a bid to contain the new, faster-spreading strain of the virus.
The Scottish Government website has full details of how this new national lockdown affects all aspects of daily life and is available HERE.
The Scottish Government will be looking at additional measures to help businesses and more details on this will be released in the coming days and weeks. Information on eligibility for Temporary Closure Grants or Business Restrictions Grants is available on the Scottish Government website and you can apply online at https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/sfbusinessfundcv/.

Wednesday 23rd December

3:45pm: Are you prepared for Leaving the EU? What does leaving the EU mean for your business? With the end of the transition period coming up, join Business Gateway to find out what you need to do. Click here to book.

9.20am: The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing MSP, outlined further details on the specific sectoral business support packages that will be available in January 2021. The funding is part of the short-term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations and follows discussions with industry to target support. Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced in due course. In the meantime, you can find further information about eligibility requirements here.

Monday 21st December

9.30am: The tourism industry and its suppliers have called for urgent help from the Scottish Government after the latest lockdown, including an increased ‘extraordinary’ package of funding for frontline business and supply chains that will be hit by measure to cope with the new strain of Covid-19. Find out more.

9.10am: Scotland’s post-Christmas lockdown could cost shops £135m per week, the Scottish Retail Consortium says. Find out more.

9.00am: Over the weekend, the Scottish Government announced significant tightening of restrictions against Coronavirus (COVID-19) to prevent the spread of the new, highly contagious strain of the virus. The easing of restrictions for Christmas has been limited to Christmas Day only. From Boxing Day, all of Scotland, with the exception of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality. For full details visit the Scottish Government website.

Friday 18th December

9.00am: Tougher restrictions begin for three Scottish councils. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will all move from level two to level three later today. Find out more.

Thursday 17th December

2:50pm: The Furlough scheme has been extended for another month until the end of April 2021 with the UK government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages. Chancellor Rishi Sunak also confirmed the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes will be extended until the end of March. More here.

10:45am: On the 15th December the First Minister gave a statement to Parliament where she confirmed East Lothian, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire will all move up to Level 3 of the COVID-19 protection scale this Friday 18 December at 6pm following rises in the prevalence of the virus in the past week.

9:50am: Guidance on safer working during the coronavirus pandemic for those businesses / organisations not covered by sectoral guidance, for example general offices has been updated to include information on the festive period. The updated guidance is available here.

9:30am: At yesterday’s media briefing the First Minister gave an update on COVID-19 numbers, including the National Records of Scotland’s weekly update. You can read the First Minister’s full speech here.

Wednesday 16th December

3:45pm: Yesterday, the First Minister asked people to avoid mixing with other households over Christmas unless absolutely necessary. She also encouraged those who feel they do need to see others to reduce unnecessary contacts as much as possible between now and then to prevent the spread of the virus during the Christmas period. More information is available here.

12:15pm: Scottish Government Announces A Further £13 Million For Events Industry. More here from Visit Scotland.

Tuesday 15th December

10.30am: The unemployment rate in Scotland has fallen slightly over the latest quarter and remains below the UK rate, figures show. Office for National Statistics figures show the rate decreased from 4.5% to 4.2% between August and October. It compares with a UK-wide rate of 4.9%.

Thursday 10th December

11:am: New £185M Package for Business – Businesses across Scotland will benefit from a new £185 million package of targeted coronavirus (COVID-19) support.
The announcement follows discussions with business groups and sees a wide range of sectors benefiting, from taxi drivers and arts venues to travel agents and hospitality. More here.

Wednesday 9th December

9:30am: Yesterday, the First Minister gave a statement to Parliament where she confirmed that Clackmannanshire will remain in Tier/Level 3 and confirmed the 11 Level 4 local authority areas will drop down to Level 3 from 6pm Friday 11 December, except retail which can open from 6am. Full details of all areas here.

Tuesday 8th December

10.45am: The pandemic has wiped 22% off Scottish GDP during the first half of the year, according to the annual CBI Scotland and KPMG Scottish Productivity Index. The report uses 15 underlying indicators that track Scottish performance, based around four broad areas: business practices, skills and training, health and wellbeing and infrastructure and connectivity. Details of the report and its recommendations to Scottish Government can be found here.

Monday 7th December

4.00pm: UK Export Finance (UKEF) has launched a new scheme to give exporting SMEs access to the working capital to help them recover from COVID-19. Exporters will be able to apply for finance from the UK’s five largest banks backed by a UKEF guarantee to free up working capital that can be used for everyday costs linked to exports and to scale up their business operations. This will help thousands of businesses fulfil multiple export contracts, pay for labour costs, build their inventory and ease cash flow constraints. Read more.

3.00pm: The First Minister has confirmed that all 11 Level Four Restrictions will end on Friday 11th December. Ms Sturgeon said it was likely that most of the areas would drop into level three, with the government taking a “cautious” approach to alert levels. Read more.

9.00am: The Scottish Wholesale Food & Drink Resilience Fund opened at the weekend. The fund is targeted at food and drink wholesalers who sell to hospitality, on-trade or public sector clients who have seen sales fall by 20% or more since March. It is open to applications until this Sunday 13th December. Further details on the scheme and eligibility can be found here.

Thursday 3rd December

2.30pm: A new fund aimed at supporting public transport operators during COVID-19 is now available. Supporting:

  • Bus and Community Transport
  • Taxi and Private Hire Car
  • Ferry, Light Rail and Plane

10.00am: A new Apprenticeship Employer Grant has been made available to further support employers when taking on Modern or Graduate Apprentices within their business from Skills Development Scotland.

  • £5,000 will be made available for employers taking on a 16 to 24-year old apprentice, and for those aged up to 29 years who are either disabled, care leavers or Black and Minority Ethnic (BME).
  • £3,500 will be made available for employers taking on an apprentice aged 25 or over.
  • Funding will be available for eligible employers where the apprenticeship start date was on or after 1st December 2020.
  • Funding will be available for starts until 25th March 2021 or until funding levels are exceeded, whichever comes first.

More information and application details will be made available in January.

9.00am: Updated advice for employers of people who are asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect because of COVID-19 has been published.

Wednesday 2nd December

4.30pm: The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to start being administered in Scotland on Tuesday 8 December, following it being authorised for supply in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Read the First Minister’s full speech here.

Friday 27th November

9.15am: Guidance for employers on what to expect from an Incident Management Team investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks in manufacturing businesses has been published on the Scottish Government website.

9.00am: Christmas “bubbles” of three households in Scotland should contain no more than eight people over the age of 11, the Scottish Government has said. They can only gather in a private home, outdoors or at a place of worship. Travel restrictions will be lifted across the UK from 23 to 27 December so people can visit close friends and relatives. View the full Festive Period Guidance.

Thursday 26th November

12:00pm: Deadline looming for RHI scheme – Act now to take advantage of financial incentives that can help you improve your business’s heating system.

9:00am: The First Minister said detailed guidance will be published this week on the UK-wide agreement for a five day window from 23 December to 27 December where rules around travel and household gatherings will be relaxed slightly. This will enable people to form a bubble of up to three households for the Christmas period.

Wednesday 25th November

4:55pm: Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) Industry Survey – in order to look at the current issues and challenges, and what support is needed going forward, please complete the industry survey. Access the survey on their homepage.

2:15pm: Are you ready for Brexit? Virtual events and webinars on EU Transition (Brexit) can be accessed here.  Sector specific and non-sector specific virtual events available.

12:40pm: New funding to help Scottish businesses save energy. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting small and medium-sized Scottish businesses to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. Its interest-free SME Loan Scheme has already provided Scottish businesses with over £26 million in loans for over 1,000 energy saving projects. Now, for a limited time only, businesses using the interest-free loan can also grab a cashback grant of up to £20,000. For full details and to take advantage while funds last, call Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support team on 0808 808 2268 or visit website.

Tuesday 24th November

10.40am: The Open University has launched a new opportunity for small to medium-sized businesses to access training up to the value of £5,000 delivered by The OU. This will support upskilling or retraining employees leading to enhanced productivity and growth. More details and a contact form can be found here.

Monday 23rd November

2.20pm: The Scottish Government has announced a £2 million recovery fund to support residential outdoor centres. The Covid-19 Residential Outdoor Education Centre Recovery Fund is open to third and private sector centres that have been financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on residential stays. The fund, administered by YouthLink Scotland, will have two separate rounds. Round one to support with essential running costs is now open for applications. The deadline for applications is 1pm on 11 December 2020.

11.00am: The food and drink sector is getting £5 million to help its recovery from COVID-19 and prepare for Brexit. A new joint industry and government plan containing more than 50 actions has been developed to assist in stimulating demand for produce in key markets and supporting businesses to capitalise on consumer demand. Read more.

10.00am: The Scottish National Investment Bank has officially opened for business with the completion of its first major investment. It’s the UK’s first mission-led development bank and it’s being capitalised by the Scottish Government with £2 billion over ten years. The bank’s proposed missions will focus on supporting Scotland’s transition to net zero, extending equality of opportunity through improving places, and harnessing innovation. It will provide patient capital – a form of long term investment – for businesses and projects in Scotland, and catalyse further private sector investment. Find out more.

Friday 20th November

9:00am: Criteria And guidance on new business support packages has been published by the Scottish Government to help businesses closed or impacted by protective measures as part of the new levels approach. Local authorities will administer the grants and will be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible businesses. Read more.

Thursday 19th November

4:45pm: The end of the EU transition period fast approaching, it’s vital that businesses take action now to ensure they are prepared for the changes ahead. The PrepareForBrexit website has a wealth of information and advice to help businesses, including our 10-point Brexit checklist, information on customs documentation, and a range of webinars to help businesses understand what they need to do and the changes that are ahead.

4:50pm: HMRC offers financial support for companies to help with completing customs declarations. The grant support is designed to help with any additional costs associated with recruitment, training and IT. Act now (click here for more info) to make sure you’re taking advantage of the funding available.

Wednesday 18th November

9:30am: A £30 million discretionary fund to enable local authorities to provide additional support for businesses where they consider that necessary or justified is being established. £15 million is also being made available for newly self-employed people who have not been able to access other forms of support, with a further £15 million being made available to local authorities to help with the community and social impact of a move to level 4. More details of these funds will be made available shortly.

Tuesday 17th November 

6pm: The First Minister announced today the results of the latest review of COVID-19 protection levels in Scotland. The majority of local authorities will remain at their current level. 2 local authorities, East Lothian and Midlothian will move from level 3 to level 2 from next Tuesday 24 November.

11 council areas will move into level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday 20 November through to 11 December. These are:

  • The City of Glasgow;
  • Renfrewshire;
  • East Renfrewshire;
  • East Dunbartonshire;
  • West Dunbartonshire;
  • North Lanarkshire;
  • South Lanarkshire;
  • East Ayrshire;
  • South Ayrshire;
  • Stirling; and
  • West Lothian

Thursday 11th November

4:30pm: Business Temporary Closure Fund and Business Restrictions Fund opens tomorrow – Premises required to close by law will be entitled to a Business Temporary Closure Fund grant of: £2, 000 if their premises have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000; or £3,000 if their premises have a rateable value of £51,001 or above. Apply here from tomorrow (Friday 13th November).

Thursday 5th November

6pm:  Government extends furlough to March and increases self-employed support.   Read More 

5.30pmNew Sectoral Re-opening Operating Guidance. The Scottish Government have published a series of new and revised guidance documents to support businesses already operating, or for some sectors still in the process of reopening.  These documents have been revised to reflect the introduction of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework and incorporates guidance on the mandatory wearing of face coverings in canteens and communal areas of the workplace.

Manufacturing Sector

Retail Sector

Tourism & Hospitality Sector

Events Sector

Tuesday 3rd November

4.30pm:   Visit Scotland have announced a new Events Recovery Fund, with two main routes to funding, covering live events and virtual events:

  • £1,000 – £5,000 – Community events
  • £5,000 – £35,00 – Events supporting the visitor economy

Read more here

Monday 2nd November

7.25pm:    Furlough Scheme Extended.   On 31 October – the day the furlough scheme was set to end – the UK Government announced that furlough would be extended by a month. The Job Support Scheme, which was set to kick in on 1 November, has now been postponed until furlough ends.

Furlough Guidance

Read More

7.20pm:  SEISS Grant Amount Increased.  To reflect the recent changes to the UK furlough scheme, the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be made more generous – with self-employed individuals receiving 80% of their average trading profits for November. Read More

7.15pm:  Scottish Government Hardship Funds Close Tomorrow. You need to apply directly through your local council, a list with links to the application process has been published at the below link, along with further details on criteria and eligibility. Applications will close Tuesday 3rd November (tomorrow) at 5pm.  Read More

Thursday 29th October:

1.50pm:   Today’s Government announcement regarding protection levels for each area in Scotland:  Protection Levels

1.45pm:  News from Zero Waste Scotland regarding SME Loan Scheme (interest free loans to help Scottish businesses implement cost-saving, profit boosting projects and to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.  Read more here

Wednesday 28th October

9.20am:    One-off grants of up to £50,000 through the COVID-19 Contingency Fund will be available to businesses in nightclubs and soft play sectors who have been required to close since March. Grants will be based on rateable value:  Read more

9.15amThe First Minister has outlined new levels framework that will increase the opportunity for hospitality businesses to operate during different levels of COVID-19 restrictions.   Under the new system set out by the Scottish Government, hospitality premises in Level 2 may sell alcohol indoors with a main meal up to 8pm, enabling the service of an early evening meal.  At level three – equivalent to the current restrictions in the central belt – the definition of cafes will be removed, enabling all hospitality premises to operate in the daytime, up to 6pm, without the sale of alcohol.  These are to take effect from Monday 2nd November.   Read more

Monday 26th October  

10.55am: The Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force has now published its recommendations for supporting the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The full report as well as a summary can be found here  https://www.visitscotland.org/news/2020/tourism-taskforce

10.52am: Ongoing financial support is set out in the framework and will be available to businesses that are required to close or those that remain open but affected by restrictions.  More information is available from the financial support news release

10.50am:   At Friday’s media briefing the First Minister launched a five-level framework which will refresh the strategic approach to suppressing Covid-19 outbreaks.  Further information can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland’s Strategic Framework and from the strategic framework news release.

Thursday 22nd October

11.45am: The Chancellor has also announced an increase in the amount it is possible to claim for the next two self-employment grants. Grants for November to January and February to April will increase from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750. Click here for the latest information.

11.30am: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced increases to the Job Support Scheme which will come into effect on 1 November. The employer contribution to unworked hours is reduced to 5%, and the minimum hours requirements is also reduced to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. Full details can be found here.

9.25am:  The First Minister has announced that the current temporary restrictions will remain in place until 2 November. As a result, funding for business grants over this period will be increased proportionately.  The COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will now provide one-off grants of up to £4,310 to businesses required to close by regulations.  For businesses that may remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, the maximum hardship fund grant will increase to £2,155.  Additionally, grants of £1,650 will help those firms that are required to close to help meet the 20% employer’s contribution that they are required to pay under the current UK Government furlough scheme. All grants will be administered by local authorities. The increase will be automatic and businesses that have already applied for a grant will not have to re-apply. Deadline is Tuesday 3 November at 5pm.  More information at:    Find Business Support

9.20am:  The New Strategic Framework to be announced tomorrow (Friday):

  • The new strategic framework will include different levels of restrictions that can be applied nationally or regionally, it may lead to tighter restrictions for all or parts of Scotland;
  • It will be subject to parliamentary approval and, if that is gained, it is intended that the levels will be applied by 2 November;
  • In her briefing, the first minister set out details of how the five-tier system will work, saying the middle three would be “broadly equivalent” to the three-tier system in use in England;
  • The Scottish system will add an extra tier at the bottom – which Ms Sturgeon said will be “the closest to normality we can reasonably expect to live with until we have a vaccine” – and one at the top; and
  • The new five-tier framework will include details of financial support for businesses hit by enforced closures, which Ms Sturgeon will be “broadly similar” to that on offer in other parts of the UK.

Wednesday 21st October

16:35: Delivery partners confirmed for Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers. More info here.

Tuesday 20 October

11.05am: Business Closure and Business Hardship Fund NOW OPEN!

Business Closure Fund

Applications for the Covid-19 Business Closure Fund are being invited from hospitality and other businesses required to close (except for takeaway) by the new restrictions. To be eligible for this fund you must be a business required by law to close.

This fund operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV of £51,001 and above.

An upper limit of £15,000 in total applies to any eligible business operating multiple premises.
Apply to Business Closure Fund >>

Business Hardship Fund

The Council is also inviting applications for a Business Hardship fund. This fund is in place to support some businesses that remain open but are still significantly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close.

Payments of £1,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000 is available. For those businesses with a RV of £51,001 and above a larger grant of £1,500 is available.

An upper limit of £10,000 in total applies to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

For the Business Hardship Fund you must be

  • a hospitality business and or gym, 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. You must be able to evidence a 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period.

Apply to Business Hardship Fund >>

FOR FULL DETAILS ON THE TWO FUNDS CLICK HERE

11.00am:

New Grant For Local Projects :  A new £1 million ‘Scotland Loves Local’ fund will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 to hundreds of projects to promote town centre and online businesses.

The funding aims to support small scale improvements that will help motivate people to shop, eat and relax within their community whilst ensuring public health safety.  Read More

Monday 19 October 

2.50pm:  Brexit Support.  The end of the transition period means businesses should take action now to prepare for changes and new rules from January 2021. Join a sector focused webinar to check the new rules and understand the actions to take.

Sector webinars – Prepare your business for the end of the transition period

Keep checking the PrepareforBrexit.scot website for further updates on how to prepare for changes taking place following the Brexit transition period.

Thursday October 15

3:34pm: Eligibility and how to apply for a share of the £40 million fund to support businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions has been released. The fund is to support employees and businesses impacted by these restrictions. Read more here.

Wednesday October 14

9.45am:   At yesterday’s media briefing, the First Minister highlighted that new Labour Market Statistics for Scotland show that the unemployment rate in Scotland was 4.5% in June to August of this year.  The First Minister’s full speech is available here.

9.42am:  The payment for employers recruiting apprentices who have lost their jobs is being increased from £2,000 to £5,000 through the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme. The increased payment will help more apprentices find a new employer and complete their apprenticeship.  Find out more at apprenticeships.scot

Tuesday October 13

11:59am: The Community Climate Asset Fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 for projects supporting community climate action including those that boost energy efficiency in community buildings, and that enable the purchase of electric bikes and vehicles. Click here for more.

11:30am: Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has outlined details of a £40 million fund to help businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will provide one-off grants of up to £3,000, depending on rateable value, to bars, restaurants and other businesses required to close by regulations. Click here to find out more.

Friday 9 October

4.15pm: Businesses groups have largely welcomed the new wage support announced today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak for workers at firms forced to close by COVID-19 restrictions . See the latest reactions here.

3.30pm: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the expansion of the Job Support Scheme to firms required to close due to COVID-19 restrictions. Highlights of the support package announced are below and full details are on the UK Government website.

  • Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK legally required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions
  • government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries  up to a maximum of £2,100 a month
  • employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions
  • the scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January
  • cash grants will be paid to businesses in England that are shut in local lockdowns, with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland getting £1.3 billion increase in funding to enable the introduction of similar measures if they choose to

2.00pm: The UK economy continued its recovery in August, growing by 2.1%, as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme boosted restaurants. But the figure was below expectations and the economy is still 9.2% smaller than before the pandemic struck according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

1.30pm: Details of the £40m Scottish business support fund have been delayed until after the Chancellor’s announcement later today. Click to find out more.

9.00am: Confidence and retail sales drop despite return to trading according to a new Scottish Chambers of Commerce report. Click to find out more.

Wednesday 7 October

5.30pm: Temporary steps to tackle record COVID-19 infection rates have been announced today by Nicola Sturgeon. They include new nationwide measures and additional measures for central belt areas in five health boards that have a higher rate of infection. Full details on the Scottish Government website.

Monday 5 October

12.05pm:  A major new campaign urging people to shop local first to support retailers has been launched.  Scotland Loves Local has been unveiled by Scotland’s Towns Partnership:   https://www.insider.co.uk/news/major-shop-local-first-campaign-22793143

11.47am: Developing the Young Workforce are coordinating a national equalities focused week called #AJobForEverybody which will take place during week beginning 16th November 2020. If you are able to provide content that could be used as part of this national campaign please contact getinvolved@dyw.forthvalley.ac.uk by 9th October 2020.

11.45am: Supplier Development Programme (SDP) webinar  on Improving Your Bid Score is taking place on 20th October from 9.30am to 11.00am.  Further details and to book are available via this link – 2.3 Improving Your Bid Score

Friday September 25

7.45am: Scotland’s very first 5G hub is to be built in Alloa, serving the wider Forth Valley, as part of a programme to drive economic growth.

7.27am: Chancellor update marks significant step forward, say small firms, but more help needed – FSB Comment

7.25am: Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s measures announced yesterday “fall some way short” of what is urgently needed to rescue Scotland’s tourist industry, according to The Scottish Tourism Alliance

7.17am: Thousands of traditional retail jobs ‘unviable’, because the lockdown has triggered a permanent shift to online shopping, Next boss warns

7.15am: The Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday outlined additional government support to provide certainty to businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus across the UK. Highlights below and full details here.

Jobs Support Scheme

  • Under the scheme, the government will subsidise the pay of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to lower demand;
  • It will apply to staff who can work at least a third of their usual hours;
  • Employers will pay staff for the hours they do work;
  • For the hours employees can’t work, the government and the employer will each cover one third of the lost pay; and
  • The scheme will run for six months starting in November.

Support for the Self-employed

  • The chancellor is extending the self-employed grant on similar terms to the jobs support scheme;
  • A grant will be available to those eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant;
  • The grant will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January; and
  • It will cover 20% of average monthly profits up to a total of £1,875.

Business Loans

  • Bounce Back Loans will be extended from six years to 10, cutting monthly repayments by nearly half;
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will also be able to extend the length of loans from the current maximum of six years to 10 years; and
  • The chancellor is also extending the deadline for the government’s coronavirus loan schemes to the end of November.

Taxes

  • The 15% emergency VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality industries will be extended from January 2021 to 31 March; and
  • Business who deferred their VAT bills will be able to pay back their taxes in 11 smaller interest-free instalments; and Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to defer tax payments to January 2022.

7.12am: COVID-19 Spending In Scotland Reaches £6.5bn

A further £2.5 billion has been allocated by the Scottish Government in response to COVID-19. The latest allocations include an additional £1.8 billion for health and social care, a further £222 million to support public transport, an extra £190 million for business and the arts and a £119 million increase for education. They are funded by £2.38 billion of COVID-19 consequentials generated by UK Government spending, £142 million of Scottish Government savings and the reprioritisation of existing budgets, plus £30 million from reserves.

The latest changes increase the Scottish Government 2020-21 budget by £2.45 billion from £52.03 billion to £54.49 billion. A further update will be published in the Spring Budget Revision. Autumn Budget Review

7.10am: Measures put in place to protect businesses from insolvency will be extended to continue giving them much-needed breathing space during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UK government announced yesterday (24 September).

A raft of changes to protect businesses from insolvency were introduced in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act and were due to expire on 30 September 2020. Click to find out more.

Thursday September 24

2.23pm: Only half of UK firms that trade internationally have considered the impact of Brexit on their business, says the British Chambers of Commerce. It said only 52% of them had carried out a risk assessment ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021.

2.21pm: The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today outlined additional government support to provide certainty to businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus across the UK.

Delivering a speech in Parliament, the Chancellor announced a package of measures that will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the uncertain months ahead as we continue to tackle the spread of the virus. The package includes a new Jobs Support Scheme to protect millions of returning workers, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans. More details.

Rishi Sunak’s post-furlough plan at-a-glance

12.02pm: Chancellor Rishi Sunak will later unveil a plan aimed at minimising further unemployment as stricter Covid-19 restrictions come into force.

12 noon: Scottish Chambers of Commerce Roundtable with Douglas Ross MP.  Yesterday, SCC hosted a virtual roundtable with the Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross MP. Members from across the Scottish Chamber Network raised business & economic issues for the Conservative Party to take forward at Holyrood & Westminster.

These among other issues, will be followed up in a letter to Mr Ross on Friday the 25th of September.

Here are issues that were discussed at the roundtable:

  • Business Support for the travel industry, concern growing over a general lack of support up to this point and high concern over government messaging on travelling for holiday / leisure purposes;
  • Business Taxation including issues around the non-domestic rates system in Scotland and the UK Government decision to end Tax-Free Shopping (VAT Retail Export Scheme) in the UK;
  • Employment Support including tailored support beyond the end of the Jobs Retention Scheme and other incentives with which to stimulate & protect jobs; and
  • Digital Connectivity & the Environment, including the need to connect up all of Scotland to superfast broadband and having a clear plan to ensure that businesses across Scotland can reap the benefits of COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.

Wednesday September 23

4.45pm: Alloa First are working hard to try and reintroduce the Alloa First Friday Market back to the High Street starting Friday 2nd October.

If you would like to take your business outside and on to the the High Street they would be delighted to give you a FREE stall to take part. Please share this with any friends, family, local crafters or producers you think may be interested. Email Judith at jsgmanagement1@gmail.com or Diane at Diane@alloafirst.co.uk for booking details. #ThinkLocalFirst #KeepLocal #LoveLocal

4.36pm: Scotland’s GDP increased by 6.8% in July, according to statistics announced today by the Chief Statistician. The increase in the latest month follows revised estimates of 6.7% growth in June and 3.1% May, and falls of 20.1% in April and 4.9% in March. Click for more.

4.35pm: As seen on BBC1 last night, you can now read First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s address on Coronavirus measures here.

12.30pm: Round-up of latest business support news and changes.

Kickstart Scheme

Future Fund

  • The Future Fund will close to new applications Wednesday, 30 September 2020.
  • For your application to be considered it must be submitted to the portal by the lead investor and matched with a business (i.e. the investee company has also completed their part of the initial application) by 23.59 GMT on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.
  • All applications, if successful, will need to have been accepted and legally completed, with the relevant CLA executed by all parties, including the Future Fund, by 23:59 GMT on Monday, 30 November 2020.

Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

  • Reminder: Deadline for application is Thursday 24 September 2020 at 12 noon

Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme

  • The Adapt & Thrive Programme is now open for applications until March 2021
  • Adapt & Thrive offers advice and funding. Funding includes grants between £5,000-£25,000 and flexible, 0% interest loans from £25,000 to £250,000.
  • The Communities Recovery Fund is now also open to applications.
  • Communities Recovery Fund offers individual organisations grants between £5,000 – £25,000 to implement changes to facilities, services and activities and up to £75,000 for partnership applications.
  • In some cases, there will be an overlap and organisations may wish to access both Adapt and Thrive and Communities Recovery programmes. The single online application form covers both of these funds meaning the applicant can request support from both programmes and will be prompted to complete all relevant questions.
  • This means that, while an organisation’s request will be assessed separately by each strand, the organisation only needs to complete one form and its request can be assessed simultaneously. To receive support from both, an organisation will need to meet all relevant criteria for each programme.

Coronavirus Guidance

12.24pm: Read how Clacksfirst Business Improvement District is supporting the Clacks Community here.

12.21pm: This is how German-style wage subsidies work – as chancellor considers options ahead of furlough scheme ending. Link to The Scotsman.

12.18pm: Pubs curfew is a devastating blow for Scotland’s pubs sector. The 10pm closing announcement by the First Minister will mean some pubs will go under, STLA says. Read More.

12.16pm: Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to be looking at options to replace the furlough scheme when it expires at the end of October. The possibilities include a salary top-up scheme similar to those already operated by governments in France and Germany. More Info.

12.10pm: Scottish Chambers of Commerce responds to new lockdown restrictions for Scotland in latest press release.

Tuesday September 22

4.20pm: New restrictions for pubs and restaurants in Scotland announced today by Nicola Sturgeon. Plus, everyone who can work from home, should work from home. Full details on Scottish Government Website.

4.19pm: The governor of the Bank of England has called for the government to “stop and rethink” the furlough scheme. The Job Retention Scheme is due to finish at the end of next month but speaking on a webinar hosted by the British Chambers of Commerce, Andrew Bailey suggested some sectors may benefit from further targeted help.

4.15pm: A government plan to end VAT-free shopping for international visitors at the end of the year could cost the UK billions of pounds in lost income, travel and retail bosses have warned. In a letter to the chancellor, the heads of firms such as Marks & Spencer, Heathrow and Selfridges said the move also put 70,000 jobs at risk. Further info.

4.07pm: Convenience stores in Scotland have called for greater police enforcement over the wearing of face coverings. Owners and staff in smaller stores have told BBC Scotland there has been a rise in the number of people refusing to wear masks in their shops.

4.05pm: The latest informative CBI webinar, recorded 21 September, this focuses on workplace testing. Watch now.

4.00pm: Second round of business support needed to manage second wave of virus, say small firms

Monday September 21

12.10pm: High growth start-up companies and university spinout projects will receive grants to help them grow in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Part of a £3 million package of support from the Scottish Government, the funding provides grants of up to £50,000 for 41 high growth potential start-ups and up to £130,000 for 16 spinout projects. It also includes bespoke support to help the businesses develop.

12 noon: Catch up with all last week’s news with the FSB Newsletter (18 September)

Friday September 18

10.54am: Nearly two in three adults are now travelling to work, as some employers ask their staff to return to offices during the pandemic. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that 62% of adults reported commuting to work last week.

10.50am: Sales on Scotland’s high streets stagnated in August, according to the latest industry study. The figures released by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) show that sales fell for six months in a row compared with 2019. More Info.

10.48am: Analyse the FSB Voice of Small Business Index Quarter 2, 2020 here.

10.45am: The Scottish economy suffered a 19.4% drop in output in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest figures. The GDP figures highlight the impact of the coronavirus lockdown which began at the end of March. The UK economy shrank by 20.4% over the same period.

Tuesday September 15

3.00pm: Small businesses have been thrown a lifeline after the High Court ruled some insurers should have paid out for losses caused by lockdown.

11.46am: Full business support update

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Guidance around calculating how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been updated with a new subsection ‘Work out your employee’s usual hours and furloughed hours’ to tell employers how to calculate the number of working and furloughed hours for an employee that comes off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period. Employers using this calculation do not need to amend previous claims.

Kickstart Scheme

  • Guidance has been updated to clarify that the £300 of funding for employer representatives is for each job placement. This is to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together a group of employers.
  • Guidance around applying for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme has been updated to include examples of what information applicants can provide to show the Kickstart Scheme job placements are new jobs. Examples of what information applicants can provide to demonstrate they’ll be able to offer young people employment support have also been added.

Events Industry Support Fund

  • The Events Industry Support Fund closed to new applications at 12 noon yesterday (14 September).

Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund

  • £3.5 million fund to help secure the survival of Scotland’s independent cinemas, enabling them to re-establish and adjust their business models in response to Covid-19. The financial support will cover a proportion of venue fixed costs until end of March 2021.
  • Applications are now open via  Screen Scotland’s online application portal.
  • The application deadline is 12 noon Monday 5 October 2020.

Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

  • Further guidance has been published for this £15 million fund.
  • Applicants can apply for between £10k and £150k and up to £250k on an exceptional basis
  • Organisations need to have been working in Scotland’s culture sector before April 2019 and at significant threat of insolvency as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The fund will open for applications on Thursday 17 September 2020 at 12 noon via Creative Scotland’s online application portal.
  • Deadline for applications is Thursday 24 September 2020 at 12 noon

Hardship Funds for Creative Freelancers 

  • £5m has been allocated to support hardship funding for creative freelancers in Scotland who are experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19. Creative Scotland is therefore looking to work with organisations that already offer this type of support to individuals across the creative sector to augment and / or extend the reach of existing hardship funds for creative freelancers.
  • Creative Scotland have issued an open call to invite any existing organisations, charities, trusts or unions based in Scotland or the wider UK who are presently managing funds to individuals in the creative sector (excluding Screen) for hardship or benevolent purposes in Scotland to work with them in delivering this funding. Funds should be national (i.e. open to those living anywhere in Scotland) and sector specific.
  • The funds will need to be fully disbursed by end March 2021 and organisations need to have the ability to ring-fence this funding for applicants resident in Scotland.
  • This call is now live and the deadline for submissions of expressions of interest is 5pm on Friday 25 September.
  • Creative Scotland anticipate confirming awards to external delivery partners w/c 5 October. They will simultaneously launch a fund managed by Creative Scotland to cover freelancers not eligible for support from the schemes being delivered by external partners.
  • Screen Scotland will be administering a proportion of the hardship fund of £700k. This fund will be launched later in September with the support of an external partner.

Third Sector Resilience Fund

  • The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) closed for applications on Friday 11thSeptember at midday.

Supporting Communities Fund

  • This fund has now closed

Scotland Asia Partnerships Higher Education Research (SAPHIRE) Fund

  • The Scottish Government have launched a new £45,000 fund which invites Scottish universities to bid for funds to improve and grow existing joint research projects within three major Asian countries: India, Japan and Pakistan.
  • The fund will support research related to recovery from COVID-19 under five core subjects.
  • Each award will be in the region £5000 to £10,000 per project.
  • Application deadline is 1 October 2020 at 12 noon.

Coronavirus Guidance

Companies House resumes voluntary strike off process

  • The process for companies that have applied to be struck off the register have resumed following changes to temporary measures announced in April 2020.
  • This means all companies that applied to be struck off before July 2020 will be struck off the register in a phased approach over the next 4 weeks, starting from 10 September 2020.
  • For companies that applied to be struck off from July 2020 onwards, the voluntary strike off process will continue as normal after this initial 4 week period.
  • The compulsory strike offprocess, where Companies House takes steps to remove companies if there’s reasonable cause to believe they’re no longer carrying on business or in operation, will resume on 10 October 2020.

11.42am: Scottish Chambers of Commerce  has continued to support and raise the voice of the manufacturing sector throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

Most recently, we have called for the 2m physical distancing requirement to be reduced to 1m with safety mitigations to support the sector’s capacity, productivity and recovery. SCC published a letter with Scottish Engineering stating our joint position on this policy issue on 5th August. The Scottish Government’s response is attached and can be read below.

In addition to this, SCC submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s short-life consultation on reducing physical distancing in manufacturing settings on 7th September. SCC’s response can be read below and we await Scottish Government’s recommendations.

Read Letter

Read SCC Response

11.35am: The number of unemployed people in Scotland increased slightly to 128,000 in the three months to July, according to new statistics. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 64 rose by 0.1% to 4.6%.

FSB Comment on job figures: “Governments need to tackle winter jobs challenge”

Monday September 14

4.49pm: More cash is being made available to help Scotland’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) support their communities in their recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The Scottish Government has released a further £700,000 to support them over the next six months through a second round of the Covid-19 Business Improvement Districts Resilience Fund, applications open today. More Details.

4.45pm: FSB Press Release – “Small firms back cross-party call to rule-out tax hikes”

2.10pm: Scottish business returned to growth in August but the pandemic is still hitting jobs according to the latest Royal Bank of Scotland Purchasing Managers Index. Business activity rose at its quickest pace for more than six years and the rate of job shedding was the lowest since February but still sharp. Read more.

1.50pm:   Book now for our next Clacks Women in Business event which will take place as a virtual session on 29 September

11.21am: The FSB have collected an overview of the national grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 pandemic here.

11.18am: Letters have been sent to VAT-registered businesses in Great Britain trading with the EU, or the EU and the rest of the world.

They explain what businesses need to do to prepare for new processes for moving goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021, including:

  • making sure they have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • deciding how they will make customs declarations
  • checking if their imported goods are eligible for staged import controls

Click to read full details on UK Government website.

11.14am: Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has written to the UK Government voicing concern at its plans for a post-Brexit internal market, saying it represents a threat to the Scottish economy. Full story.

11.09am: Guidance on maximum groups of six and face coverings in hospitality are on Visit Scotland’s Government FAQ page.

11.05am: Covid-19 ‘better for small businesses than Brexit’ Business Gateway survey suggests. But nearly four in ten expect positive outcomes from the UK leaving the European Union

11.00am: Employers in Britain are planning more than twice as many redundancies than they did at the height of the last recession, new figures show.

About 180,000 job cuts were planned from January to March 2009, while 380,000 were planned from May to July this year.

Friday September 11

12.45pm: Round up of COVID related business support, grants and funds.

Hotel Recovery Programme

  • Applications for the Hotel Recovery Programme have now closed. This fund has been removed from the summary document.
  • All expressions of interest received prior to the deadline will be assessed.
  • Funding and other support will be delivered to successful companies on an ongoing basis from October 2020 until March 2021.

Events Industry Support Fund

  • Reminder: The closing date for applications is Monday 14 September at 12 noon.

Childminding Workforce Support Fund

  • Provides small grants of £350 to childminders who are experiencing financial hardship.
  • The Scottish Government has confirmed further funding of £330,000 towards the Childminding Workforce Support Fund to enable a second phase of this fund to open.
  • Awaiting details of opening and closing dates for applications.
  • This fund will be administered by the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA).

Scottish Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund

  • The Scottish Government has published further guidance detailing eligibility criteria for this £2.6m support fund for zoos and aquariums.
  • If you run a zoo or aquarium in Scotland and are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to apply for a 0% unsecured loan or grant of up to £100,000 to pay for three months of animal care costs
  • Call 0300 244 9999 to request an application pack or email szaawf@gov.scot

Third Sector Resilience Fund

  • This fund closed to new applications Friday 11 September at midday.
  • Applications received after this date will not be accepted.
  • As the sector now looks beyond resilience and plans for recovery to operate sustainably post-Covid, the Scottish Government last week announced the Third Sector Community & Recovery Programme, which will open later in September.

Connecting Scotland

  • A Scottish Government programme set up in response to Coronavirus. It provides iPads, Chromebooks and support to develop digital skills for people who are digitally excluded and on low incomes.
  • Phase 2 of this fund is currently live and is focused on households with children, or where a child is normally resident (this includes pregnant women with no child in the household) and care leavers up to the age of twenty-six.
  • If you are a public or voluntary organisation that already works with the target groups that satisfy Connecting Scotland criteria, you can apply for devices to distribute via the Connecting Scotland website.
  • The closing date for applications is 11am on 5 October 2020.

Bounce-back plans for consumer and retail industry

  • A ‘bounce-back’ plan of trade measures for the consumer and retail industry has been announced by the UK Government to help support businesses impacted by Coronavirus.
  • The new plans include the creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus.
  • Further detail around the full range of measures announced can be accessed via the UK Government website.

Maximum gathering set at six people from two households

  • The number of people who can gather together, indoors or outdoors, will be set at maximum of six from two households.
  • Moves announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be enforced from Monday (14 September), but people are urged to ‘abide by these stricter new limits immediately.’
  • The restrictions do not apply where there is other sector specific guidance in force, for example for gyms, for childcare or for organised sports, and there will be some other limited exceptions for larger households, education, and places of worship. It does apply to hospitality.
  • Along with these new measures, the First Minister also confirmed that Scotland will not move out of Phase 3.
  • Face coverings must be worn in hospitality settings, apart from during the service of food and drink, with hospitality staff following the similar rules as retail staff (from Monday 14 September)
  • Route map moves expected from Monday (14 September) are given a new indicative date of Monday 5 October.

Coronavirus Guidance

12.33pm: Get involved in Scotland’s Climate Week 2020 (14 to 20 September) with Zero Waste Scotland‘s  two free training webinars designed to help your business save money, reduce carbon emissions and play its part in helping Scotland meet its net-zero target.

10.08am: Scottish Chambers of Comerce respond to Scotland’s route map update for 10th September 2020 in latest press release.

10.07am: FSB: Scottish Government must detail standard local lockdown help package. Read.

10.06am: Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups saw collective like-for-like sales bounce back up to 2019 levels in August thanks to the Government’s Eat Out To Help Out campaign, the latest research shows.

The latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show that while food-led businesses forged ahead, drink-led operations still found trading tough.

10.00am: The UK economy grew by 6.6% in July, according to official figures, but output remains far below pre-pandemic levels.

It is the third month in a row that the economy has expanded. But the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the UK “has still only recovered just over half of the lost output caused by the coronavirus”.

9.59am: The UK government should consider a targeted extension of its furlough scheme, MPs have said. The coronavirus crisis risks mass long-term unemployment and viable firms could go under without support, the Treasury Select Committee has warned.

9.56am: Find out how Forth Valley Tourism businesses are responding to the pandemic and the innovative steps they’ve been taking here: Visit Scotland Website.

9.52am: UK Government investment to help build robots for nuclear plants and batteries for electric aeroplanes. Future technologies that could transform people’s lives such as high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, advanced medical treatments and robotics will receive a £65 million government cash boost. Read More.

9.50am: All of Scotland’s 32 local authorities and more than 25 individual community regeneration projects will receive a share of £30 million of new investment for regeneration and town centres.

The funding will be available immediately through the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) and the Town Centre Fund (TCF), both delivered in partnership between Scottish Government and COSLA. Full Details.

Thursday September 10

9.31am: Investors are being invited to get behind more than £1 billion of low carbon, eco-friendly and recycling investment opportunities. Led by the Scottish Government, the Green Investment Portfolio promotes market-ready projects that will help Scotland transition to a net-zero economy by 2045 and are seeking private capital.

In total, ten projects with £1.16 billion of investment potential – from a hydrogen development programme in Aberdeen to a plastic recycling project in Perthshire – are included in the first release of the portfolio.  Full Details.

9.29am: A state-of-the-art environmental monitoring system – the first of its kind – will be launched in central Scotland to enable businesses and organisations to make decisions based on real-time data.

The multi-million-pound project, led by the University of Stirling, will be a “living laboratory” –capturing, processing and sharing data from across Forth Valley using EE’s 5G network. It will use sensors, satellite data and artificial intelligence to provide vital information on water quality and other factors to inform decisions that could provide major economic and sustainability benefits to the area.

9.27am: The latest Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce EZINE can be read here.

8.47am: Supporting working parents and carers – “What role can businesses play in supporting employees to look after their loved ones as the pandemic rolls on?”, advice from CBI here.

8.45am: Indoor venues in Scotland, including concert halls and theatres, will learn later today if they can reopen from Monday.

Tuesday September 8

5.55pm: Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch talks COVID-19 and the implications for small business with FSB in this special on-demand webinar.

5.52pm:  On the VisitScotland website, you can now find the latest COVID-19 insights for the UK and Ireland markets and International market

9.29am: The September 2020 Newsletter from Supplier Development Programme can be read here.

9.23am: Round-up of COVID related business support.

Kickstart Scheme

  • The UK Government has introduced a new £2 billion fund to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.
  • Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
  • There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
  • Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements.
  • If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number

The Sustainable Innovation Fund: Round 3 (temporary framework)

  • £10 million fund providing grants for new research and development projects focusing on sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19. This funding is from Innovate UK.
  • All projects must be led by a business and include at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME). Proposals can either be from a single business or a collaboration.
  • There is no minimum or maximum total project size.
  • Each funded partner can claim up to 80% of their eligible project costs, up to a maximum of £175,000.
  • Applications are now open and the competition closes Wednesday 30 September 2020 at 11am.

Events Industry Support Fund

  • VisitScotland have received a number of queries regarding Public Liability Insurance.  If your business does not involve contact with the public and therefore is not required to have public liability insurance, you can still apply for the fund, provided you meet the other criteria. Instead of policy documentation, you must submit a statement confirming why you are not required to have public liability insurance, which will be considered alongside your submitted application. This statement must be uploaded to the section of the application form which asks for public liability insurance.
  • Reminder: Applications are currently open until Monday 14 September 2020 at 12 noon

Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund

  • £3.5million fund to help secure the survival of Scotland’s independent cinemas, enabling them to re-establish and adjust their business models in response to Covid-19.
  • The financial support will cover a proportion of venue fixed costs until end of March 2021.
  • You can apply for eligible costs to address the financial gap between income and expenditure, enabling you to operate at break-even. This fund is not a replacement for all lost income.
  • Applications open at 12 noon, Monday 14 September 2020 via Creative Scotland’s online application portal.
  • The application deadline is 12 noon on Monday 5 October 2020.

Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

  • £15 million fund to support organisations that provide opportunities for cultural engagement and who have been unable to trade due to the impact of Covid-19.
  • Includes both organisations who provide opportunities for audience engagement (such as galleries, performing arts spaces, commercial theatres, comedy clubs and nightclubs) as well as those that enable and deliver cultural activity (such as production facilities, music and dance companies).
  • The fund will open for applications on Thursday 17 September and awards will be made by the first week in November.

Creative Freelancer Hardship Fund 

  • £5 million fund to address the current financial hardship being felt by creative freelancers who normally work in the culture sector, but whose work has been impacted by Covid-19.
  • It is anticipated that this fund will open for applications early October.

Sustaining Creative Practice Fund

  • £5 million fund which supports artists to continue developing new creative work that will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19.
  • This includes £1.5 million for the Culture Collective programme, mentioned in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, supporting organisations employing freelance artists to work in and with communities across Scotland.
  • The remaining £3.5m will be added to Creative Scotland’s existing open fund which is open for applications from individuals now.

Youth Arts Fund

  • £3 million fund to ensure creative opportunities for children and young people continue to exist across Scotland despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The fund will include targeted and open funding to youth music and wider youth arts organisations, a scheme to devolve grants locally to artists who work with young people and small grants delivered directly to young people to support them fulfil their creative ambitions.
  • Awaiting further details from Creative Scotland.

Transitional Support Fund

  • £11.2m fund providing grant support to help childcare providers with the cost of safely reopening.
  • You can now apply for a grant through the Transitional Support Fund website. Applications are made through Bisaccount.
  • The deadline for applications is Friday 9 October 2020.
  • This scheme is administered by local authorities.
  • Applicants with multiple settings are required to submit separate applications for each individual eligible setting using single login via bisaccount.
  • Councils will aim to make payment within 28 days from receipt of a fully completed application and once all information and evidence in support of an application has been verified.

9.16am: Have you considered a succession plan for your business? It’s never too early to start thinking about your options. To help you decide Co-operative Development Scotland is hosting a series of Selling Your Business webinars over the coming months. Find out more here.

9.12am: Calls For Job Retention Scheme Extension For Critical Sectors – The UK risks a second wave of job cuts and a slower economic recovery if it does not extend its furlough scheme, according to a leading representative for the manufacturing sector.

In a survey of more than 200 manufacturing firms, Make UK said more than 60% wanted the scheme extended for strategic industries such as aerospace and car manufacturing. A further quarter said it should be continued should there be further lockdowns or a second wave of infections.

9.06am: Scotland’s green recovery – Nearly £1.6 billion to directly support up to 5,000 jobs and tackle fuel poverty is at the heart of plans to drive Scotland’s green recovery and end our contribution to climate change. £500 million is being invested in Scotland’s natural economy including £150 million to help deliver a 50% increase in woodland creation by 2024 and an extra £150 million for flood risk management, vital to increasing climate change resilience. More Details.

9.05am: Applications are now open for funding to help childcare providers meet the extra costs of complying with public health guidance. The Transitional Support Fund, part of £11.2 million support announced for the childcare sector, will help pay for things like increased cleaning, new or additional equipment, better outdoor spaces or adaptations to buildings

9.02am: Five technology hubs will be established with £4 million to support the next generation of Scottish start-ups.  This initial funding, announced last week by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes on a visit to the CodeBase technology incubator in Edinburgh, will invest in critical infrastructure, enabling the hubs to give entrepreneurs world-class training and mentoring alongside the chance to network and share ideas.

9.00am: Scotland’s bars are facing unprecedented challenges which could see up to 12,500 jobs being lost. The warning comes from the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, which today released a survey which highlights the impact of the Covid crisis on Scotland’s pubs.

8.57am: British employers planned more than 300,000 redundancies in June and July, as the coronavirus outbreak took its toll on the workplace. 1,784 firms made plans to cut nearly 150,000 jobs in July, almost a sevenfold increase on July 2019. The figures were obtained by a BBC Freedom of Information request.

8.54am: Scottish Chambers of Commerce respond to publication of Scottish Government Programme for Government 2020-2021 in this press release.

8.50am: Catch up recent COVID related business updates in the FSB’s latest newsletter here.

Wednesday September 2

7.26am: An innovative new scheme to help young people into work and spur Britain’s economic revival was launched by the UK Government yesterday.

Businesses are now able to sign up to be part of the landmark £2 billion Kickstart scheme, giving unemployed young people a future of opportunity and hope by creating high-quality, government-subsidised jobs across the UK.  Under the scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Plan for Jobs, employers can offer youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

7.22am: Scottish Chambers of Commerce respond to publication of Scottish Government Programme for Government 2020-2021 in latest press release.

7.20am: Manufacturing production rises at fastest pace since May 2014 as re-opening of economy continues. Report

Tuesday September 1

4.10pm: Ensuring Scotland’s economic, health, and social recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is the focus of this year’s Programme for Government, published today.  Speaking in Parliament, the First Minister said the Scottish Government would prioritise work to suppress the virus – building on its commitment to COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and surveillance.

The First Minister also set out the government’s plans for renewal while ensuring a green recovery is at the heart of the economic recovery, with job creation, support for health and wellbeing and work to tackle inequalities all high on the agenda. Full Details.

4.07pm: Read the latest email containing advice and support for businesses in Scotland from Scottish Enterprise / FindBusinessSupport here.

10.47am: Responding to further changes to the Job Retention Scheme taking effect today, the FSB say small firms call for measures to stem unemployment and support directors as furlough winds down

10.39am: Economic growth is forecast to contract by 9.1% in 2020, according to the latest predictions from KPMG. Looking at the whole of the UK, the accountancy firm is forecasting GDP decline of 10.3% for 2020, downgraded from 7.2% predicted in June. Details.

10.30am: Latest Covid-19 Business Support Summary.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • From today (1 September), the UK Government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund: Round 2 (De Minimis)

  • Reminder: Applications will close Wednesday 2 September 2020 at 11am

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

  • Reminder: The scheme ended yesterday (31 August)
  • You can claim money back through the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme using the online claims service until 30 September.

Events Industry Support Fund

  • £6 million fund providing financial help for businesses in the events industry who have been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Applications are now live via the VisitScotland wesbite until 12 noon on 14 September 2020.
  • Applications will be assessed on a first come, first served basis and awards may be made to successful eligible businesses before the close of the Fund.

Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund

  • Reminder: This fund will close to new applications Thursday 3 September at 12 noon.

Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund

  • The Scottish Government has announced a new £15 million fund providing support to a range of businesses such as art galleries, studio facilities, comedy venues, large music venues, commercial theatres, orchestras, dance companies and nightclubs.
  • It will help to reduce the threat of insolvency, protect jobs and create conditions for a more viable and sustainable future for the sector.
  • Creative Scotland are establishing the details of the fund and how it can be accessed. More information will be made available next week.

Transitional Support Fund

  • £11.2m fund providing grant support to help childcare providers with the cost of safely reopening.
  • The Transitional Support Fund will open for applications on 3 September 2020.
  • The last date for submitting a grant application will be Friday 9 October.
  • More information to come as the Scottish Government will release further details of the application process on Thursday 3 September.

COVID Adaptation Fund (Zero Waste Scotland)

  • Applications are now closed
  • Zero Waste Scotland aims to inform applicants of the outcome of the assessment process within 10 working days of receipt of applications.

Supporting Scottish culture and heritage

  • Culture and heritage sectors are to benefit from a £59 million funding package to protect jobs and help the industry weather the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
  • A new £15 million Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund
  • £21.3 million for Historic Environment Scotland (HES)to protect jobs and support the reopening of properties in their care.
  • An additional £5.9 million will be made available to support heritage organisations through committed grants, and £270,000 for the New Lanark Trust will help secure the future of one of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites.
  • £5 million to address the immediate financial hardship faced by creative freelancers
  • £5 million to support artists to continue developing new creative work that will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19, including £1.5 million for the Culture Collective programme to support organisations employing freelance artists to work in communities across Scotland
  • £3.5 million for independent cinemas
  • £3 million for youth arts including a funding boost for the Youth Music Initiative which will provide work for musicians
  • The culture funds will be delivered through Creative Scotland who are establishing the details of the funds and how they can be accessed. More information will be made available next week.

Coronavirus Guidance

Monday August 31

4.30pm: Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce has launched a data collection app for the area’s business community. 

The Track and Trace web app gives business owners a platform to securely check customers in and collect the data needed to support the Scottish Government’s Test and Protect Programme.  Visitors simply scan a QR code with a smartphone on entry and input their contact information to be held securely for use if required by NHS Scotland.

3.42pm: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will publish a Programme for Government this week focused on dealing with the economic, health, and social crisis caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Protecting public health will remain the priority, and the Scottish Government will also set out plans to help people, businesses and communities recover from the pandemic by creating new jobs, promoting lifelong health and wellbeing and tackling inequalities.

10.25am: The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has engaged widely with local Chambers on the need to re-open offices to support recovery in our town and city centres.

To make this case, they held an urgent meeting with the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP on Thursday 28th August.

They have agreed with the Cabinet Secretary to work with Scottish Government officials to form a small focused action group to review and develop a potential plan which would enable offices to re-open. This plan would be utilised to inform the route-map review decisions. SCC will be working jointly with CBRE to present plans quickly to support the re-opening of offices in Scotland.

If you would like to inform this work or share your views, please contact SCC Deputy Chief Executive, Charandeep Singh via the below link or call 07984 495 871.

10.21am: Culture and heritage sectors are to benefit from a £59 million Scottish Government funding package to protect jobs and help the industry weather the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Details.

10.19am: The UK Government is investing £8.4 million in COVID-19 immunology research projects across the UK, including the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

It is the biggest ever contribution to COVID-19 immunology research in the UK.

Three new UK-wide studies will receive funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to understand immune responses to COVID-19.

10.04am: From today, gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts can reopen in Scotland after the coronavirus lockdown.

10.03am: Information on the new Hotel Support Programme has been updated on VisitScotland’s financial support page.

10.00am: Welcome to the start of another week, catch-up with last week’s news in the FSB’s weekly newsletter.

Friday August 28

9.45am: Current COVID-19 Business Support – Everything in one place

To view details of all the support, grants and schemes out there, access the latest COVID-19 Scottish Business Support Summary here. This is a useful national summary of the support available, and includes links to further information.

9.39am: Have you started a new business during lockdown? If so, Business Gateway Clackmannanshire have 4 short Business Start-up Webinars just perfect for you on September 2nd & 3rd. Covering Business Planning, IT, Finance & Marketing, each webinar is only 3 hours long yet offers invaluable insight and tips for any new venture. Click to book.

Further Webinars from Business Gateway Clackmannanshire

9.32am: People will again be encouraged to go back to their workplaces as part of a government campaign starting next week.

7.18am: Tourism and hospitality guidance has been updated. Make sure you know what’s all in it, including information on noise control and queue management. Find this and more business support and information on VisitScotland.org

7.13am: IPPR Scotland has published new research which shows the scale of the youth unemployment challenge Scotland could face later this year, saying youth unemployment could reach over 100,000 (1 in 3 young people)

7.10am: A report on how the life science sector in Scotland is supporting the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been published by The Scottish Government.

This document highlights some of the innovative work in the life sciences sector in Scotland to support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including supporting testing supply chains as well as vaccine development and the associated supply chain.

7.05am: COVID-19 Business Support Round-up

Hotel Recovery Programme

  • £14 million fund for larger hotels in Scotland providing a targeted support package in line with individual needs. This could be made up of a mix of consultancy support, business advice and funding.
  • Grant funding of up to £250,000 per hotel to put towards additional costs and investment (including capital investment) may be available as part of the tailored support package.
  • To be eligible, each hotel you’re applying for must be based in Scotland with a rateable value of over £51,000 and must employ at least 50 people.
  • Expressions of Interest are now open and will close 5pm 9 September 2020.

Events Industry Support Fund

  • £6 million fund providing financial help for businesses in the events industry who have been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Successful applicants will be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £10,000.
  • The fund is 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 and have not received funding from any other Scottish Government sponsored COVID scheme.
  • Applications for this Fund will be accepted from noon on 31 August 2020 until noon on 14 September 2020.
  • Applications will be assessed on a first come, first served basis and awards may be made to successful eligible businesses before the close of the Fund.
  • Application guidance can be accessed via the VisitScotland website now so that you have time to prepare in advance of the applications going live.

Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund

  • £2.2 million fund to provide grassroots live music venues that were financially sustainable before Covid-19, with the funds to prevent permanent closure and help with sustainability.
  • Applications are now live via Creative Scotland’s online portal
  • The deadline for applications is Thursday 3 September 2020 at 12 noon.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

  • Conister has been added to the list of accredited lenders under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme
  • The lender will put in place the operations required to start lending under the schemes and will confirm the dates from which they will be ready to start receiving applications from businesses across the UK.

Coronavirus Guidance

Thursday August 27

1.36pm: New factsheet from CBI: Preparing for a second wave of coronavirus

1.17pm: New digital skills initiative provides lifeline for small businesses. The new Make It Click small business hub, which is supported by the Federation of Small Businesses, offers small businesses an easy and convenient way to boost their online and IT skills. It includes a wealth of free online learning resources to help business owners and their employees increase their digital know-how and confidence.

1.15pm: The UK was the hardest hit by Covid-19 among major economies from April to June, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said.

1.11pm: Warnings of ‘ghost towns’ if staff do not return to the office. Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said allowing staff to work from home had helped keep firms afloat during the pandemic. Writing in the Daily Mail, Dame Carolyn said the UK’s offices were “vital drivers” of the economy, supporting thousands of local firms, from dry cleaners to sandwich bars.

1.00pm: A new £14m Hotel Support Programme has been launched to help protect sustainable employment in the medium term within larger hotels in Scotland, offering support to the value of £250,000 per unit. Full Details.

Wednesday August 26

5.35pm: UK ‘could lose £60m a day’ as tourism slumps. Spending by visitors from overseas could fall by as much as 78%, equivalent to £60m a day, said the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

5.22pm: Latest updates on coronavirus advice and support for businesses in Scotland from Scottish Enterprise / FindBusinessSupport here.

10.24am: Scotland’s tax revenues continued to increase in 2019-20, although they were impacted by the initial effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). Today’s Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) publication shows that overall revenues, including North Sea receipts, increased to a record £65.9 billion. Onshore revenues grew by £1.1 billion to reach £65.2 billion.

These increases came despite the pandemic depressing public finances. Corporation and VAT receipts fell compared to the previous year and both the Scottish and UK Governments increased spending to tackle the virus. Full Details.

7.12am: It’s now mandatory for hospitality settings to collect the contact details of visitors to their premises in support of Test and Protect. The gathering of contact information from customers by hospitality businesses, in a secure and safe manner, will assist NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service to identify any clusters of cases, contact those who may have been exposed to the virus, and request them to take appropriate steps to prevent potential onward spread.

VisitScotland has outlined key points on this page but please do read the full Scottish Government guidance on collecting customer contact details.

7.10am: With the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in its final full week, the Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the Government to continue and extend the initiative to further help thousands of small food and drink businesses right across the country.

Tuesday August 25

4.53pm: Register here for latest webinar from FSB: Jason Leitch talks Coronavirus and Scotland’s Small Businesses.

Small businesses from across Scotland will have the opportunity to ask questions of the public health expert looking at how the rules apply in their business and how to keep staff, customers and themselves safe.

FSB’s Director of Devolved Nations Colin Borland will chair this exclusive small business briefing where Jason will talk with the FSB and small businesses about:

  • The progress of the coronavirus crisis;
  • The rules which firms have to follow to keep their customers and staff safe;
  • The Test & Protect system and the responsibilities of Scottish small businesses in the event of an outbreak.

4.42pm: More than 64 million meals have been enjoyed by diners across the country since the launch of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme. More details.

4.40pm: Putting start-ups at heart of recovery – Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has welcomed recommendations for developing a world-class technology sector in Scotland.

Recognising the sector’s potential for innovation and high growth, a report from entrepreneur Mark Logan outlines ways of creating more jobs, increasing investment in Scottish start-ups and improving computing science education.

4.39pm: Read Business Gateway’s latest email, “Get free 1:1 advice and support for your business challenges” here.

7.35am: Have you started a new business during lockdown?

If so, Business Gateway Clackmannanshire have 4 short Business Start-up Webinars just perfect for you on September 2nd & 3rd.

Covering Business Planning, IT, Finance & Marketing, each webinar is only 3 hours long yet offers invaluable insight and tips for any new venture. Click to book.

7.10am: Round-up of COVID-19 Business Support

The Sustainable Innovation Fund: Round 2 (De Minimis)

  • £26 million fund providing grants for new projects focusing on sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19. This funding is from Innovate UK.
  • The aim of this competition is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.
  • This competition is round 2 of a potential 3.
  • You can receive funding of 100% of your total eligible project costs, up to £100,000.
  • Applications are open now and the competition closes Wednesday 2 September 2020 11:00am

Coronavirus Guidance:

Monday August 24

5.12pm: Catch up with all last week’s news in the FSB’s newsletter.

5.10pm: The latest Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Ezine can be read here. 

5.05pm: VisitScotland has today (Monday 24 August) announced the details of a £6 million fund to help the events sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic while restrictions on the sector are still in place. The Events Industry Support Fund will comprise of a one-off grant of £10,000 to support businesses in the events industry, particularly those in the supply chain, that are facing hardship and will be awarded as applications are received.

7.30am: VisitScotland We’re Good To Go – Around 6,240 tourism businesses have now signed up for the We’re Good to Go scheme and social media is full of people proudly displaying their award. The scheme gives confidence to your visitors that you’re adhering to official government and sectoral guidance. There’s now a Gaelic version of the logo available. Sign Up Free

7.27am: FSB – “No room for complacency as economy shows green shoots despite recession”

7.25am: Outdoor contact sports and bingo halls, amusement arcades, casinos, funfairs and snooker halls out of lockdown today.

7.24am: If your business is in the Clacksfirst BID area, you can take advantage of the free, weekly recycling service they offer. For those businesses and organisations that do use the service, when you require recycling bags, can you please contact Kevin Deighan and he will arrange delivery. The bags for Clacksfirst BID members can only be supplied by Clacksfirst BID and not Binn Group or Alloa First.

7.22am: Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce is to launch a free data collection app for the Forth Valley business community called Track & Trace.  The platform allows businesses in the area to securely check in their customers and collect data in line with official guidelines to support the Scottish Government Test & Protect Programme.

Visitor data, which automatically expires after 21 days, is held centrally (in line with GDPR guidelines) by FV Chamber so visitors have confidence and individual businesses don’t need to worry about data protection. Businesses can check the number of logins on their dashboard and download the support package of QR codes, posters and flyers. Businesses can also manually check-in guests and visitors who do not have a smartphone.

The app is not just for hospitality and visitor attraction members, it’s available to all businesses across all sectors and non-members too. Register Interest

7.20am: Driving Lessons to restart in Scotland today.

  • Learner drivers can resume training in Scotland from Monday 24 August;
  • Vocational and car and trailer driving tests will resume on Monday 31 August;
  • Car driving tests will start again on Monday 14 September;
  • Driving instructor testing and standards checks will restart on Monday 14 September

DVSA and the Scottish Government previously announced the restart of theory tests from 22 July 2020, and motorcycle tests and tractor driving tests from 3 August 2020.

Car driving tests will restart in Scotland on Monday 14 September, which will give learner drivers time to have refresher lessons and practice before taking their test.

7.17am: This year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight takes place between 5 – 20 September 2020.

Join Scotland Food & Drink in amplifying the importance of supporting our local food and drink, recognising the suppliers, products and people and celebrating the hard work, determination and innovative ways our industry has adapted to the global crisis. More Details

7.12am: Scottish Government guidance has been published for the technology sector and the performing arts and venues sector.

7.10am: Welcome to another week, take a quick recap of last week’s news in Friday’s email from the Clackmannanshire Business Support Agencies. Catch-up.

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