COVID-19 - Business Support

Please note, this information is correct at time of publication 25/03/20 and may be superseded by further government announcements.

Non Domestic Rates

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. You do not need to apply for this relief and it will be applied to your bill by the Comhairle.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied.

If you're struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact the Comhairle’s Non Domestic Rates team on rates@cne-siar.gov.uk or 01851 822 645 and ask them about your payment options. Please note however, there is no requirement to make a payment toward your business rates account until 30 September 2020.  This is without any penalty, interest or charge.

If you find you are ineligible for grants, please let us know by contacting us on businessgateway@cne-siar.gov.uk.  It is very important you provide us with information on the type of business you have so we can feed back the details to the Scottish Government.

Wage Support

Business will be able to secure a subsidy towards the salary costs of their employees who otherwise would have been laid off. Called the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) employers will be able to secure up to 80% of the cost of an employee’s cost up to a maximum of £2500 per month until end May 2020.

HMRC will deliver this wage subsidy. No detailed arrangements are yet available on how to apply.

Loans

If your business needs short term cash flow support a loan scheme is to be set up to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. Called the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Opens in a new window or downloads a file), the scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% of a loan and business will be able to secure 12 months interest free interest repayments.

The British Business Bank (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) will deliver this loan scheme. You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. The scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March 2020.

VAT

VAT Payments (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) have been deferred for three months from 20 March until end June 2020 and no VAT payments are needed during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the 5 April 2021 to pay any VAT liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

This is an automatic support and businesses do not need to apply.

Sick Pay

Small-and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. They will be able to reclaim 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee. There will be no need to provide a Doctors Fit Note but employers need to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.

No detailed arrangements yet available on how the repayment mechanism will work and how to apply.

Self Employed

The self-employed Income Tax Payments (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred without penalty or late payment interest until the 31 January 2021.

This is an automatic support and businesses do not need to apply.

If you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week - and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home and make a claim for Universal Credit (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) or new style Employment and Support Allowance (Opens in a new window or downloads a file). If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

If required you can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre, nor is there a need to attend a jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.

Outstanding Tax

If businesses and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have existing outstanding tax liabilities, they are encouraged to contact HMRC as they may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) service.

Advice                                                                                                 

The Comhairle has set up a dedicated Business Resilience webpage, which also links to the Business Gateway Coronavirus (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) webpage.

This includes a range of guidance and information online about business continuity planning, and a number of additional related articles, including webinars and tutorials to support you on the Business Gateway (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) website.   As part of these steps we would also encourage you to check your business insurance, consider how the disruption will affect your staff and working patterns, and the messages you are giving to your customers and supplier

The Scottish Government have set up a business support helpline (0300 303 0660) for all business support enquiries in Scotland there is also further information available on the mygov.scot (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)website.

The UK Government has set out Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) in providing advice about COVID-19.

Business Gateway

Business Gateway has postponed ALL face to face contact for this interim period but we are working and available via email and telephone as normal. Updates will also be provided on the Outer Hebrides Business Gateway Facebook page (Opens in a new window or downloads a file),  and the Business Gateway (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) website  Please make sure you are following us to get up to date information. 

Please contact:
Tel: 01851 822775
e-Mail:  businessgateway@cne-siar.gov.uk