Scottish Government Business Support Helpline: 0300 303 0660

Visit www.FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot

We are working hard on behalf of our levy payers, communicating to local and national authorities the need for support during these difficult times.

As part of this, we have compiled a list of information, links and contact details for businesses seeking support or advice.

This list will be regularly updated throughout the crisis, and our team are available to help with any issues you may have.

Latest Update 12th May - Furlough Scheme Extended

The UK Government today announced that the current furlough scheme to pay workers on leave due to coronavirus will continue until October.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500 but the government will ask companies to "start sharing" the cost of the scheme from August. This will allow companies flexibility in returning staff to work.

Speaking about this today, our CEO Adrian Watson added, "Naturally this will bring relief to many, respecting it is not sustainable in the longer term. We welcome the Chancellor’s decision to extend the current structure of the scheme for a further month to include July and look forward to seeing the finer detail on what it looks like in moving forward from there. Of course, the ideal scenario is to get people back to work in Aberdeen and further afield as soon as it is safe to do so and this will be helped no end by us all abiding by the current guidelines."

Latest Update - 4th May

Bounce Back Loans

Applications for a new business loan scheme have opened in an effort to help small companies through the ongoing crisis.

The UK Government has launched the scheme aimed at small and medium-sized businesses who can apply to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, 100% guaranteed by the government, with no payments or interest in the first 12 months.

The scheme has already proven to be popular, with thousands of businesses applying in the first few hours.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders that can be found here

Aberdeen City Council pay out more than £13 million in business support

After more than 2,000 applications from Aberdeen businesses, Aberdeen City Council has paid about 870 awards of £10,000 grants and 181 awards of £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, as part of The Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund.

The application is available at https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/information-businesses and anyone needing assistance should contact the business rates team on 01224 346146. The deadline for applications to the Business Support Fund is 31 March 2021.

In addition to the grants, the council’s The Business Response Hub has a team of advisers available to support any business with inquiries. The Business Response Hub is available on 01224 346145 or by email at businessgrowthteam@aberdeencity.gov.uk.


Aberdeen City Council to administer local applications for Covid-19 fund launched for the recently self-employed

It has been confirmed that Aberdeen City Council will be administering local applications for funding from the £34 million Scotland-wide fund which launched on Thursday 30 April for those who are recently self-employed and unable to access other grant support schemes.

Aberdeen City Council is now accepting applications from those who meet the criteria within the city and it is anticipated successful applicants will receive the funds in early May 2020.

This funding is intended to relieve the hardship of people ineligible for other Coronavirus self-employment schemes. It is open to those who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and who were actively trading up to March 2020.

The application form together with full details of the required criteria can be found at:

https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/apply-newly-self-employed-hardship-fund

Latest Update - Crowdfunder UK

Aberdeen Inspired have teamed up with Crowdfunder UK on the campaign Pay it Forward, to offer businesses a platform to gather funds from customers and supporters for services to be used at a later date. Crowdfunder cover all platform and transaction fees, meaning fundraising is 100% free for local businesses during the coronavirus crisis.

For more information, click here

Latest Update - 15th April

The Scottish Government has announced they will be making available a further £220 million in support of businesses, in addition to the £2.2 billion already announced. The new package of measures includes:

  • £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties. The new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place by the 5th of May.
  • A further £100 million fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress. This fund will be channeled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes. Applications will be open by the end of this month.

Business Gateway - 2nd April

Tomorrow Business Gateway - Aberdeen City & Shire will be running two FREE webinars, to address problems businesses may be facing in these difficult times. The webinars will cover Financial Crisis Planning and Essential HR Crisis Planning. To book your place follow the links below.

Latest Update - 30th March

New guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been published.

In a move that could save businesses up to an extra £300 a month for each employee under the scheme, the Government will now cover the employer's National Insurance and minimum auto-enrolment pension scheme contributions that employers pay on wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme.

Further information can be found here

Latest Update - 27th March

The UK Government has announced new measures to help the self employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Details can be found here

Similar to the previously announced scheme for employers and employees, self-employed workers will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

More details have also been revealed for the governments Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, links to which can be found below.

Latest Update - 24th March

Business can apply to the Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund, administered by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils. These are dependent on type and size of business premises. Application form here: https://bit.ly/3b95fWY

The two types of grant which are now available to ratepayers are:

• a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses

• a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

Updated information for businesses can be found here, including support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Under the scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Find out more through this link

Latest Update - 20th March

*Cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have been asked to close tonight - as soon as they reasonably can - and not open tomorrow. They can continue to provide a take-out service.

*The classification of premises being told to close are places where people gather for social/leisure purposes. Shops are not included and people will still be permitted to exercise outside, observing social distancing guidance. This policy will be kept under review on a monthly basis.

*The Chancellor announced a coronavirus job retention scheme with broad eligibility – including the charity and NFP sector – which would pay 80% of the salary of employees not working, up to a limit of £2,500/month. The scheme will cover salaries for three months initially and be backdated to 1 March. No financial limit has been placed on the scheme and it will support as many jobs as necessary. Employers can choose to top up salaries if they wish and this covers workers in any part of the UK where employers can’t afford to pay them. The first grant will be paid in weeks, with a target date of the end of April.

The Chancellor also announced:

  • Funds paid out by the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme will now be interest-free for 12 months, not 6. Loans will be available from Monday
  • Further measures to support medium and large businesses will be announced following discussions with the Bank of England in the next few days.
  • The next quarter of VAT payments is being deferred, so no VAT payable until end of June. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to repay VAT owed.
  • Increasing Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance by £1,000/year and working tax credit basic amount also increased by £1,000/year.
  • For the self-employed, the minimum income floor for UC is being suspended so people can access full UC at a rate equivalent to SSP for employees.
  • Next self-assessment payment deferred to January 2021

Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has outlined a package of measures in place to support business through the COVID-19 outbreak worth 2.2 billion from 1 April:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
  • 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
  • urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
  • extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
  • halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill

Full details can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-2-2-billion-for-business/.

Scottish Govt Guidance on new reliefs, released on 19 March 2020: https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/

Support can also be found at: www.FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot

The website is supported by an enquiries and referral service. You can contact them by submitting an enquiry or calling 0300 303 0660. Lines are open from 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

UK Government

Earlier this week Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced further measures to support businesses, including increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, mortgage support schemes and information about insurance. More details of this announcement can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-announces-additional-support-to-protect-businesses

(please note that the non-domestic rates support in this announcement does not apply to Scotland).

Relaxation of enforcement where public houses and restaurants offer takeaway service during the current outbreak

Aberdeen City Council have waived regulations around food premises offer take-away services. In terms of alcohol, as long as companies have off-sales on their licence, the city-council have agreed not to require anything further. Aberdeen City Council have also agreed to waive any requirements on deliveries being included in any operating plans for licensing purposes. Licensing will not have any restrictions re food sales going takeaway unless businesses wanted to do late hours catering which is food after 11pm.

For more information contact: commercial@aberdeencity.gov.uk