Business support during the coronavirus emergency

Business Gateway East Dunbartonshire and the Council are continuing to offer support to businesses and enterprises affected by the ongoing pandemic.

Please note, we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls and e-mail enquiries, and would ask you make use of online links to access information (see below).

We are currently awaiting details from the Scottish Government on future business support schemes and these will be provided as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and understanding in the meantime.

You can access additional advice and updates by visiting the local business support information hub - www.businessworks.scot

For information on funding sources and support for businesses, visit https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice and www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

* Please, note, as of Monday 26 April 2021, 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. Visit the Scottish Government website for more information.

You can download a toolkit to support businesses reopening here - including posters and guidance.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards colleagues are happy to discuss current guidelines with business owners based in the area. The contact details are:

Alternatively, you can call 0300 1234510.

Covid-19 Business Reopening Update

As of 26 April 2021, all retail premises, close contact services and mobile services can reopen, working in people’s homes can resume, and gyms and swimming pools can open for individual exercise.

Driving lessons and tests can also resume and libraries, museums and galleries are able to reopen.

Hospitality premises - including pubs, bars and restaurants - can reopen, indoor and outdoors, with restrictions on physical distancing, capacity, alcohol service and operating hours.

You can access Hospitality Guidance here.

You can access Retail Guidance here.

You can access Close Contact Services Guidance here.

For further details of the easing of restrictions in each protection level and what this means for businesses, visit this webpage.

If you are an East Dunbartonshire business and would like advice on whether you can reopen, implementing physical distancing or other aspects of the Scottish Government guidance, please e-mail the Environmental Health or Trading Standards teams at the following e-mail addresses - or call 0300 1234510.

environmental.health@eastdunbarton.gov.uk - for food businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes.

trading.standards@eastdunbarton.gov.uk - for all other businesses, including taxis and private hire vehicles.

The regulations and guidance provide information on when previously closed businesses can reopen. For the latest position please check the Scottish Government website, which is being updated on a daily basis with advice and guidance.

Face coverings are mandatory in all retail environments, public transport and public transport premises. Regulations provide certain exceptions. Further details can be found on this webpage.

For more information on services and latest guidance, visit our coronavirus webpage.

COVID-19 – Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Driver and Operator Support Fund 2021-22

What can I get?

The Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund 2021-22 assumes that local authorities will be making separate payments to eligible drivers and operators, based on distinct criteria.

For the driver element

Local authorities will make a payment of a further £1,500 to all drivers who previously received a grant under the Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund.

For the operator element

Amounts payable will be differentiated and scaled, with a base grant payable to owner-operators with one vehicle, and higher grants for those operators holding multiple vehicle licences. The grant is payable based on the number of vehicle licences each owner/operator holds, as follows:

  • Owner/operators with one vehicle  - a single award of £1,000
  • Owner/operators with two to nine vehicles - a single award of £3,000
  • Owner/operators with 10-49 vehicles  - a single award of £7,000
  • Owner/operators with 50 or more vehicles – a single award of £15,000.

How will the grant be provided?

Local authorities will administer the grants on behalf of the Scottish Government and deliver the funding to eligible taxi and private hire drivers, and licensed private hire and taxi operators. The Scottish Government will set the criteria and provide the funding for local authorities to make these payments.

When will I get this grant?

For the driver element

Local authorities will begin to process payments towards the end of week commencing 7 June 2021 (or earlier if possible). Payments will be made into a business bank account, where possible, and personal accounts. As per Scottish Government criteria these payments are for drivers who previously received funding. No application is required and drivers are asked not to contact the Council to enquire about payments.

For the operator element

Local authorities will begin to contact all eligible vehicle licence holders from mid-June to brief them on their potential entitlement and invite them to provide relevant supporting information and bank details. Local authorities will aim to make payments over June and July, subject to receiving the relevant supporting information required and where the eligibility criteria has all been met. The Council must apply the Scottish Government grant criteria and payments will only be made to those businesses who meet the criteria.

Eligibility

For the driver element

The core Scottish Government criteria for the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) was as follows:

  • A taxi or private hire driver holding a valid licence for the period 9 October 2020 to at least 31 January 2021
  • Are/or have been working or available for work as a taxi or private hire driver
  • Experienced loss of income (50% of turnover, compared with 2019) and incurred overhead costs and expenses.

For the driver element of the Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund 2021-22, a one-off grant of £1,500 is payable based on the following Scottish Government criteria:

  • The driver MUST have previously received a grant from the Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund earlier in 2021
  • Their local authority taxi or private hire driver licence must remain current and valid as at 3 June 2021.

For the operator element

For the operator element of the Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund 2021-22, eligibility is based on the following Scottish Government criteria:

  • An individual or company holding a valid taxi or private hire vehicle licence as at 3 June 2021; one claim per vehicle, generally, and in particular where a licence is held jointly by a number of individuals
  • The operator must have experienced loss of income (50% of turnover, compared with 2019) and incurred overhead costs and expenses.

Other eligibility criteria

Both taxi and private hire drivers, and taxi and private hire operators applying for support must also meet the following criteria and, where necessary, supply appropriate documentation to substantiate each:

  • They must not have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements
  • They must not have connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (Nov.) Act 2020
  • Applicants may be required to declare all previous support received from UK, Scottish or Local Government support schemes to provide local authorities with the necessary information to ensure payments are made correctly and compliant with EC State Aid limits/UK Government subsidy control policies.

Tax & Benefits

Grant income received by a business is taxable. The operator element of the Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business.

Grant income through the Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund will be regarded as capital by the Department for Work and Pensions. Recipients of this support who are also in receipt of working age benefits must declare the grant to the Department of Work and Pensions in order to have it taken into account when calculating their benefit entitlements.

How Do I Apply?

You do not need to apply – your local authority will get in touch with you by letter, e-mail or other communication method in June. You should therefore not contact your local authority in the interim as this may divert resources from work to deliver prompt payments.

Visit https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/funding/taxi-and-private-hire-vehicle-driver-and-operator-support-fund for more information.

Contingency Fund Plus - Brewers Support Fund, Support for Travel Agents and Support for Indoor Football Centres

Three new funds to support businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic were announced by the Scottish Government on 27 January 2021.

The Council is contacting businesses who qualify - under the criteria set by the Scottish Government - for the Brewers Support Fund, Support for Travel Agents and Support for Indoor Football Centres in due course.

Visit https://www.gov.scot/news/more-financial-support-for-businesses/ for information.

East Dunbartonshire Council Discretionary Business Fund

The deadline for applications has now passed (5pm on Friday 26 March 2021).

The purpose of this fund was to provide a one-off grant of £4,000 to small and micro businesses - experiencing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations announced since October 2020 - that have been ineligible for other forms of Scottish Government business grant support introduced since October 2020.

Strategic Framework Business Fund

Please note, as mandated by the Scottish Government, the Strategic Framework Business Fund closed to new applications on 22 March 2021. You had to apply to the Strategic Framework Business Fund before 5 February 2021 to - potentially - be eligible for Top-Up Funding (see below).

There is no application process for the restart grant - a one-off payment will be automatically made to all companies approved as part of the Strategic Framework Business Fund. We have been processing the grants as of 19 April 2021 and will complete the process as quickly as possible.

The purpose of this grant - linked to Scotland’s Strategic Framework - is to provide (from 2 November 2020 onwards) support to specific businesses closed or directly impacted by law, in the form of:

  • Business Temporary Closure Fund - a grant of £2,000 or £3,000 (depending on rateable value) for businesses required to close by law, payable every four weeks in arrears for the duration protective measures are in place
     
  • Business Restrictions Fund - a grant of £1,400 or £2,100 (depending on rateable value) for businesses that remain open, but are specifically required to modify their operations by protective measures, payable every four weeks in arrears for the duration measures are in place. This means that your business is legally required to close earlier than normal, for example, not that you have to adopt physical distancing or that the demand for your products or services has been reduced because of the pandemic or other restrictions which impact on individuals and communities.

Appealing a decision

If your application is rejected for any of the grant schemes the Council is administering, then you are able to appeal the decision. Please note however that eligibility criteria for individual grant schemes is set by Government and we have no discretion to amend.

The Council has been running an appeals process to support the many different COVID-19 business grant schemes. This process reviews the decision and application of grant criteria independently via the Internal Audit Service. Please note that if you do not meet the eligibility criteria your appeal will be unsuccessful.

If you wish to make an appeal you must do so by:

  • E-mailing the Covid19BusinessSupport@eastdunbarton.gov.uk address - only once you have received a rejection. Appeals sent to other parts of the Council will not be registered nor processed. 
  • State in the e-mail subject heading: name of the grant scheme; name of your business; and the word 'Appeal'. If any of this information is missing, the Council cannot guarantee your appeal will be registered or processed. Please also state clearly the reason why you feel the original decision should be reviewed. 
  • Your appeal email will be acknowledged and you will be advised that an outcome will be provided within 10 working days. Officers will not be able to discuss your application with you when it is in appeal.

Please note, once the appeal outcome has been provided the matter will be closed. 

If a decision is overturned you will be advised of this and any payment due will be paid.

If you wish to appeal the decision, you are requested to do this within 14 days of the rejection.

Top-Up Funding

Scottish Government Hospitality Sector Top-Up Payment; Retail Sector Top-Up Payment; and Leisure Sector Top-Up Fund (FUND NOW CLOSED)

This financial support offered one-off additional grant support for eligible businesses closed and therefore directly impacted by protective measures from 26 December 2020 at Level 4 of the Strategic Framework, subject to the core requirement that they applied for and were entitled to a Level 4 payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund in January 2021.

To be considered for Top-Up Funding you had to apply to the Strategic Framework Business Fund before 5 February 2021. The Top-Up funding element is now closed and if you did not apply before 5 February you cannot be considered for it.

Large Self-Catering Fund 

This fund will provide a one-off grant of £2,000 to Self-Catering Businesses who meet the Scottish Government eligibility criteria.

The fund is targeted at those premises which have seven or more bed spaces, as determined by Rates Assessor records, as they have been particularly impacted by the restrictions which initially limited usage of self-catering to no more than six people from two households and then to a single household.

To access this grant award, applicants must have a self-catering premises that was recorded by the Rates Assessor as accommodating seven or more guests (noting that sofa beds and cots are not counted in this calculation) on 1 January 2021 and must have been trading on 2 November 2020.

To apply please use the online form

Please note the Council will only process fully complete applications. You can expect an outcome within 20 working days from submitting a fully complete application. Where further information is required from you, the processing may take longer. It is not necessary to contact the Council within this period to check on the progress of your application.

Scottish Enterprise - green jobs calls

Scottish Enterprise has announced support for businesses to create new green jobs that contribute to improving the environment and achieving net-zero emissions.

The £4 million green jobs call is part of a three-year £27 million package of green funding targeted for its new call programme. It will open to applications on Tuesday 18 May 2021, with grants from £50,000 up to a maximum of £500,000 being awarded on a competitive basis.

The initiative is supported through the Scottish Government’s Green Jobs Fund. You can access more info, sign up to receive email updates and find out more about supporting webinars via the website.

Scottish Engineering Net-Zero Skills Support Programme

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the engineering and manufacturing sector are invited to take part in the Net-Zero Skills Support Programme from Scottish Engineering.

With a global focus on decarbonisation a key part of COVID-19 economic recovery, this initiative will help ensure that SMEs are ready to play a role in Scotland’s green recovery and can take full advantage of opportunities for diversification, strengthening sustainability and planning their own net-zero route map.

The year-long programme is funded by Skills Development Scotland, with support open to all Scottish engineering and manufacturing sector SMEs. It will be delivered through a series of online workshops and one-to-one sessions, as well as digital materials.

Visit https://scottishengineering.org.uk/net-zero-skills/

The first virtual events are on 27 April and 4 May 2021.

Scottish Government Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund

As per Scottish Government instructions, the fund closed to new applications on 25 March 2021.

The purpose of this fund was to provide a one-off grant payment of £1,500 to eligible licensed taxi or private hire car drivers.

Scottish Government Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax (B&Bs and Self-Caterers)

Please note as per Scottish Government fund rules, this scheme closed at 5pm on 22 March 2021.

The purpose of this fund is to provide financial support to self-caterers, B&Bs, guesthouses and other small serviced accommodation businesses paying Council Tax which have not been able to access support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund as a result of not being registered for Non-Domestic Rates.

Successful applicants are eligible to receive the equivalent of the Strategic Framework Business Fund, backdated to January 2021. This represents £2,000 every four weeks whilst you remain in Level 4. Payment will be made on a per premises basis.

If you have been successful and receive the grant you can continue to accept key workers - please contact the Scottish Government for further information or guidance - https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/contact-us

Scottish Government - Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund and support for mobile and home-based close contact businesses and registered driving instructors

Grants were available from Scottish Government for mobile and home-based close contact service businesses – such as make-up artists and hairdressers – as well as registered driving instructors. In addition, the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, which paid out more than £11 million in vital support last year, also re-opened for a second round.

The deadline - set by the Scottish Government - was 23 March 2021 at 11.59pm.

SME Brexit Support Fund

Small and medium businesses can apply for a £2,000 grant from the UK Government to help them with new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU - visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/20-million-sme-brexit-support-fund-opens-for-applications

The grant can be used for training for customs, rules of origin and the VAT aspects of imports and exports, as well as seeking professional advice in these areas. 

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/grants-to-help-small-and-medium-sized-businesses-new-to-importing-or-exporting

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The UK Government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended. The fourth grant will cover February to April 2021, worth 80% of average trading profits up to £7,500. A fifth grant will be available from July 2021. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

COVID-19 Public Transport Retrofit Fund

A fund aimed at supporting public transport operators during the coronavirus pandemic is available. The COVID-19 Public Transport Retrofit Fund is part of the larger COVID-19 Public Transport Mitigation Fund, announced by Transport Scotland.

The fund supports the installation of measures needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on vehicles, and aims to improve capacity and increase public confidence.

Bus, community transport, taxi and private hire operators are eligible. Visit energysavingtrust.org.uk/grants-and-loans/covid-19-public-transport-retrofit-fund/

Guide for Home Businesses

East Dunbartonshire Economic Partnership (EDEP) has produced A Guide for Home Businesses, containing useful information and links to further guidance for local entrepreneurs and anyone thinking about starting a business from home. The production of this Guide fulfils Action 21 of East Dunbartonshire’s Economic Development Strategy. The aim is to make it easier for home business owners, or those looking to start a new home-based business, to access the information they may need.

The Guide also offers potential business owners details of regulations that they need to comply with and can help them get in touch with the relevant Council services.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The UK Government has a scheme for small and medium sized employers - with fewer than 250 employees - to recover Statutory Sick Pay payments made to employees.

Employers seeking more information on the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme - covering eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020 - can visit www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Bounce Back Loans

The UK Government's Bounce Back Loans scheme can provide loans of up to £50,000. Visit https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice/sources-of-funding

Future Fund

The Future Fund Portal is open for applications, providing convertible loans - ranging from £125,000 to £5 million - to innovative UK companies, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. Visit www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/future-fund/

Business Gateway workshops

For the time being, Business Gateway (BG) East Dunbartonshire workshops will be run remotely.

Visit https://www.bgateway.com/events?region=east-dunbartonshire&keyword for more information.

In addition, one-to-one BG meetings can be held over the phone, FaceTime, Skype, Cisco Webex and Zoom.

All BG East Dunbartonshire networking groups - ED-Net, ED-Netday and East Dunbartonshire Women in Business - are now being delivered remotely.

For more information, visit www.businessworks.scot or www.bgateway.com/local-offices/east-dunbartonshire/local-support, e-mail bgateway@eastdunbarton.gov.uk or check out Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can call Business Gateway East Dunbartonshire on 0141 578 8530.

* The Scottish Business Resilience Centre is also organising online webinar events. Follow its latest news on Twitter - https://twitter.com/SBRC_Scotland - or get in touch via www.sbrcentre.co.uk

Environmental Health and Trading Standards Guidance

Environmental Health and Trading Standards colleagues are happy to discuss current guidelines with business owners based in the area. The contact details are:

Alternatively, you can call 0300 1234510.