This page is kept up to date with a summary of the latest guidance we've issued throughout the week, giving you a snapshot overview of the key announcements and updates.

The following was updated on Friday 15 January at 4pm.

The announcements we feel you need to know this week:

  • Strategic Framework Business Fund

If your business is required to close by law or to significantly change its operations due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible to apply for grant funding. Grant funding for eligible businesses will cover the period of any closures or restrictions with the earliest claim date being 2 November 2020. The cap on the maximum support available through the fund was lifted on 1 January for businesses that operate from multiple premises. Remember, you can still apply to the fund even if you are required to close or modify your operations for less than four weeks. Applications to the Strategic Framework Business Fund should be made through your local authority website.

  • Other funding available for Scottish businesses

Extended support for the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors

In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Framework Business Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one-off grant of: 

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses (rateable value of £51,001 or more) on top of the 4-weekly £3,000 
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses (rateable value of £51,000 or less) on top of the 4-weekly £2,000 
  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses (rateable value of £51,001 or more) on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses (rateable value of £51,000 or less) 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 payments for the fund due on 25 January 2021. If you haven’t yet applied for this fund, we advise you submit an application as soon as possible through your local authority website.                               

Funding for non-essential retail and gyms

The Scottish Government announced additional support for non-essential retail and gyms at the end of December. These businesses can claim up to an additional £3,000, providing they’ve not already submitted an application, through their local authority website. You can find out on the Scottish Government website here.

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers 

To support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds offer a one-off monetary contribution to those who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the emergency situation. Find out more and apply through the Creative Scotland website here

Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance 

This round of the Touring Fund - for outdoor and non-conventionally staged work - is specifically designed to respond to the limitations in place within the dance, theatre and touring sector, due to coronavirus restrictions. The fund supports venues, theatres, artists, companies and producers to present shows that will allow them to re-engage with their audiences in innovative ways while still complying with ongoing restrictions during 2021. Deadline for applying is Friday 5 February 2021. Find out more and apply through the Creative Scotland website here

  • Thursday 14 January deadline -  Job Retention Scheme

A reminder that furlough claims for December must be submitted no later than midnight on Thursday 14 January 2021. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims that end on or before 31 December 2020, or add to existing claims for that period.

  • Friday 29 January deadline -  Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The third stage of the scheme opened for applications on 30 November 2020. This stage covers the period of November 2020 to January 2021 and applicants can claim grants worth 80% of their average monthly earnings up to a maximum of £7,500.The deadline for applying is Friday 29 January 2021. Submit your claim through the Government's website here.

Other Areas to be mindful of in your business planning

  • Raising debt funding for your business - speaking to your bank

Whether you're looking to raise debt for the first time for your business or you need to secure additional headroom to help with your immediate cash flow commitments, or you wish to consider refinancing to secure a more competitive debt facility, the extensive range of lenders operating in the UK continue to provide borrowers with significant options. Preparing thoroughly for those conversations and identifying the most appropriate lenders to engage with for your business are key to securing a successful outcome. We've explained more in our blog here.

  • Business loan schemes extended until 31 March 2021

Businesses have until the end of March 2021 to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These government-backed loans have favourable rates and conditions, so they can be a good option to consider for your 2021 cash flow planning. Read more about the Bounce Back Loan Scheme in our blog here and we've covered what you need to know about the two business interruption loan schemes in this blog here.

  • Sunday 31 January deadline -  Self-assessment tax return

 The self-assessment tax return deadline at the end of January is still firmly in place, so please make sure you're on track to submit your return by 31 January 2021 to avoid any fines. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual Johnston Carmichael adviser.