The Government has released further updates on the support you can access for your business if you are self-employed, on progress with grant payments and for those based in Scotland or Wales.

• A new ‘support finder’ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to determine what financial support is available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

– The tool on gov.uk asks business owners and the self-employed to fill out a simple online questionnaire.

– Users are then directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for. Read more about the tool here.

• Data has been published on the amount of money distributed to SMEs by every local authority in England as part of two grant schemes launched to help businesses deal with coronavirus. Find out more about the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Welsh Resilience Fund

The Welsh Assembly has developed a Resilience fund aimed at helping those business that there not eligible for the Business Rate Grant or the support for self-employed grant.

This Fund has three components:
•  £100m COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme administered by Development Bank of Wales (which is already fully subscribed)
•  £100m fund to support microbusinesses
•  £300m fund to support SMEs and large businesses

The £100m Fund for microbusinesses, which will provide £10,000 per business, is open to applications from 17 April 2020. While it will be of real help to tourism businesses that were not eligible to the Grant Fund, it has its own problem in that one of the criteria is that the business is VAT registered to apply.

Here’s a link that provides more details businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/support/financial-support-and-grants

Further support for Scottish businesses

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days.

The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access of £3,000 worth of hardship grants or larger grants of up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed. The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.

The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants.
  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief.
  • £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland.

The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in Parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May. She said:

“This funding is intended to relieve the hardship of individuals and smaller firms that are ineligible for support from the UK Government or are not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive. Our hospitality, tourism and creative sectors have been decimated by this crisis and previously profitable businesses have seen demand dry up overnight. However, because of the decisions the Scottish Government has taken, thousands more self-employed people and small businesses will be able to benefit from support compared with elsewhere, and we have been able to help sectors of the economy that are not being supported in other parts of the UK. As well as dealing with this immediate crisis, we must look to the future. We must ensure that those businesses with a part to play in strengthening resilience in Scotland’s economy survive this crisis and thrive in future, which is why £45 million is being allocated to those firms. We continue to engage with businesses on a regular basis to understand their needs and press the UK Government to deliver for them.”

NCASS Member?

To discuss any of the above points or if you have any questions, please contact your NCASS Account Manager on 0300 124 6866 Monday -Thursday 9-5:30pm and Friday 9am – 5pm.