More Scottish businesses to get help to cope with covid-19

The Scottish Government has announced that coronavirus financial support is to be expanded to include businesses that share properties, e.g. indoor markets, and firms that aren’t on the rates system, such as some B&Bs. The news was confirmed in a statement by cabinet secretary for the economy Fiona Hyslop.

She told the Scottish Parliament: “I can announce… that we will extend the eligibility of the current small business and retail, hospitality and leisure grant to businesses that occupy multiple premises with a cumulative value above £51,000 and also, to businesses occupying premises such as shared office spaces, business incubators and shared industrial units where the landlord is the ratepayer.

“We are also working with local authorities to support small business who aren’t on the rates system and were not eligible for the Hardship Scheme solely because they did not have a business bank account. Further detail on these arrangements will be set out later this week.”

Andrew McRae, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland policy chair, said: “All over Scotland, many independent businesses have found themselves in the desperate position of being excluded from coronavirus financial support because of the type of property from which they operate. And many of these firms faced the same ongoing costs as those entitled to help.

“It looks like Ministers have recognised this injustice and have taken the right steps. While we need to understand the detail, they sound like savvy changes that could provide real support for many independent firms in their hour of need. However, this help needs to be distributed quickly before these businesses run out of road.”

The Scottish Government has also published new workplace guidance for the retail and manufacturing sector about the steps operators in these sectors will need to take before re-opening.

Additional details about the change to the grant funding will be released later this week but the scheme is expected to kick in as from June 8. You can find out more about the current Business Rate system in Dunlop Heywood’s updated rating report here