Scottish Government Support for Small Business
Following the financial package unveiled by the UK Government in response to economic impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government have set out their measures for Scotland, essentially replicating what was announced by the UK Treasury. As tourism and hospitality have been immediately affected by COVID-19, the Scottish Government have directed support to those sectors in particular, and the support outlined has been universally welcomed by business stakeholders.
In her speech to Parliament on 18th March, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Fiona Hyslop said that the Scottish Government would mirror the package of measures that was announced by the UK Chancellor. The £2.2bn support from the Scottish Government includes:
- 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
- 6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
- Halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill.
Please note that today’s announcement supercedes the £320m package of support announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance on 14th March.
In addition to the measures outlined above, the Scottish Government have:
- Set up a dedicated business helpline number (0300 303 0660) for those with questions about the impact of COVID-19. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.
- The Finance Secretary will also write to all local authorities in Scotland urging them to respond positively to requests from ratepayers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.
- The Scottish Government will also make the case to the UK Government that, because of the larger number of small businesses in Scotland, they need additional resources to be able to provide further support.
- The Scottish Government are preparing a £50m fund for those who have lost their jobs as a result of measures taken to limit the spread of the virus.
- The Scottish Government have also convened the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) which met for the first time on 17th The group is chaired by VisitScotland and includes representatives of the industry, the Scottish Government Tourism Team, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, transport sector and tourism organisations. STERG have the commitment of three calls per week with the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP.