Advice for businesses and jobseekers

Business Gateway Midlothian

COVID-19 Business Fund enquiries

All enquiries about funding should be emailed to [email protected] We are only able to offer guidance if you include your name, the business name, address and postcode, and the name of the fund you are asking about.

Are you registered with Business Gateway?

Registering with Business Gateway will provide you with a dedicated adviser who will support you in all aspects of developing and growing your business.

COVID-19 Discretionary Fund

The purpose of this fund is to provide financial support to small or micro Midlothian-based businesses that have been unable to secure any COVID-19 business grant support to date, or where they have had COVID-19 business grant support, they can demonstrate that this has not been sufficient to keep them in a viable trading position.

Phase 2 of this fund opened for applications on Monday 1 March and will close to applications on Friday 19 March 2021.

Grant awards

This fund will award grants based on premises and number of staff employed:

  • Owner operated businesses, no employees - £3,000 (for the purposes of the grant, company directors paid a salary via PAYE do not count as employees)
  • Businesses employing under 10 staff - £5,000
  • Businesses employing more than 10 staff - £7,500

Please note that as this fund is limited, we would encourage you to apply as soon as possible. 

  • We expect a high volume of applications for this fund and we would recommend taking your time when completing your application. Please make sure you provide all of the information asked for and upload the required documents. Incomplete applications will be auto-rejected so it is worth getting it right first time!

Who is eligible?

You cannot apply for this fund if you have received Mobile Close Contact, Newly Self Employed, Strategic Framework Fund or any of the sectoral funds released since October 2020.

Note: your eligibility is not affected if you receive:

  • HMRC Self-Employed Income Support or
  • Coronavirus Job Support (Furlough)

Eligible businesses

To be eligible, your business:

  • Must be based and/ or headquartered in Midlothian
  • You must demonstrate that you were trading prior to 17 March 2020
  • Must not have majority shareholding from overseas investors
  • Must not be eligible for sector specific grants to date or be eligible for new support schemes the Government may announce before April 2021
  • Has fewer than 50 employees
  • Has either:
    • not been able to secure any other COVID-19 business grant support to date
    • or other COVID-19 business grant support to date is not enough to keep a viable trading position
  • Has lost business due to COVID-19 and you are experiencing financial hardship as a result
  • Has taken steps to limit business expenditure and costs
  • Is not applying to any other Local Authority for similar funding
  • Is not connected to a tax haven
  • Is not in administration, insolvent, or where a striking-off notice has been made
  • Has not received an enforcement notice for breaching COVID-19 regulations

If you applied in phase 1

  • If you received the £1500 grant from phase one and believe you are eligible for the increased amount of £3,000 you don’t need to do anything, we will automatically transfer the top up amount to the account we hold for you.
  • If you received the £1500 and employ staff and therefore believe you are eligible for the £5,000/£7,500 grant, please reapply to phase 2 of the fund, clearly notifying us that you have received the phase one grant. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed.

How to apply 

Apply online for COVID-19 Discretionary Fund 

What happens next? 

  • If your application is successful, we will aim to pay the grant into your account within 10 working days 
  • If your application is incomplete it will be auto-rejected and you will need to complete a new application. In the event that you have not received contact or payment after 10 working days, please contact our Economic Development team with the following information: 

                       o    Submission reference number 
                       o    Name and address 
                       o    Business name 

We cannot investigate your enquiry without this information. Please email it to: [email protected] with ‘Discretionary Fund enquiry’ in the subject bar. 

Appeals 

Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Services Fund

This Scottish Government fund is now open for applications. The fund is for owners and operators of mobile and home-based close contact service businesses and for Registered Driving Instructors. It is not for employees of those businesses. If you are an employee of one of those businesses you should speak with your employer on your eligibility for support through the UK Government’s Job Retention scheme.

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

This Scottish Government fund is now open for applications. The grant scheme is designed to help alleviate financial hardship for newly self-employed people who meet the eligibility criteria. The scheme offers a one-off £4,000 payment for those whose status as being newly self-employed makes them ineligible for the UK Government’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Support fund for travel agents, brewers and indoor football centres

Three new funds have been launched to support businesses uniquely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Local councils have been getting in touch with brewers, travel agents and indoor football centres inviting them to claim grants of £10,000 or £25,000. A higher payment of £30,000 is available to the largest brewers.

Owners do not need to apply or contact the council, unless they had not heard from us by 8 February 2021.

Grants available

  • £10,000 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £18,000;
  • £25,000 for premises which have a rateable value of £18,001 or above.
  • £30,000 for brewers only operating a property with a rateable value of over £51,000 or production over 5,000HL in 2019.

More information

Scottish Government Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund

This fund is intended to provide financial support to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in Scotland. It recognises the significant disruption that they have experienced as a result of restrictions introduced to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The fund provides one-off grants of £1,500 to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

Midlothian Council has written to eligible applicants including an application form. If you did not receive a letter and application form by Wednesday 27 January 2021 and believe you are eligible for this fund, please email: [email protected]

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible if you are a taxi or private hire driver and have been licensed for the period 9 October 2020 to at least 31 January 2021.  This does not include drivers whose licenses (that remain current and valid) were suspended on or before 31 December 2020.

You must confirm that up to 31 December 2020:

  • you have you experienced a loss of income as a taxi or private hire driver (50% of your turnover, compared with 2019) and incurred overhead costs and expenses
  • you are or have been working or available for work as a taxi or private hire driver

In addition you must:

  • not have breached any wider COVID-19 regulations or requirements prior to local restrictions (for example received a fixed penalty notice)
  • not have connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus regulations

What other information do I need to provide?

To process your application, we require evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria along with information to help prevent fraud. Full details are included with the application form.

You will need to attach a bank statement, (payments will be made into a business bank account, where possible, or a personal account), dated within the last 3 months, which shows your name, account number and sort code. Please note that we cannot accept screenshots from an online banking system which only show your recent activity.

How do I apply?

Midlothian Council has written to eligible applicants including an application form which should be completed and returned to:

  • Midlothian Council, Business Services Support – FAO Linda Melville, Midlothian House, 40-46 Buccleuch Street, Dalkeith EH22 1DN

If you did not receive a letter and application form by Wednesday 27 January 2021 and believe you are eligible for this fund, please email: [email protected]   

When will payment be made?

We aim to make this payment promptly once we have received the information from you and within a maximum four week period from receipt of any and all relevant supporting information required, provided all the eligibility criteria have been met.

Further information

Retail, hospitality and leisure

The Scottish Government announced on 11 January 2021 that eligible businesses will get a one-off grant, to top up the grants they receive through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

For hospitality businesses:

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000

For retail and leisure businesses:

  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.

To find out when you can expect your top-up payment to be credited to your bank account please visit the City of Edinburgh Council business grants support page. Applications are being processed on our behalf by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Coronavirus Strategic Framework Business Fund

If your business is required to close by law or to significantly change its operations due to COVID-19 restrictions from 2 November 2020, you may be eligible to apply for grant funding.

This support is separate from, and in addition to, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions Fund to support employees and businesses impacted by local COVID-19 restrictions, from 9 October until 1 November 2020.  Applications for that funding closed on 3 November 2020. 

Current restriction level

Midlothian moved to Level 4 of the Strategic Framework on 26 December 2020. From Tuesday 5 January 2021, Midlothian and the rest of mainland Scotland moved to a temporary Lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. 

If you are receiving a Strategic Framework Business Support Grant or waiting to hear the outcome of a recently submitted application you don’t need to re-apply. To find out when you can expect payments to be credited to your bank account, please visit the City of Edinburgh Council business grants support page. Applications are being processed on our behalf by the City of Edinburgh Council.

What you can get if your business is required to close by law: Temporary Closure grant

If your business is required to close by law you could be entitled to a temporary closure grant, every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
  • £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above.

From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £15,000 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.

What you can get if your business is required to modify its operations: Business Restrictions grant

If your business is specifically required to modify its operations, as specified by the schedules of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, or specified in the levels list on the eligibility page, you may be entitled to a Business Restrictions grant, every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £1,400 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000 
  • £2,100 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above.

From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £10,500 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.

How grants will be paid

Grants will be paid every four weeks in arrears. You will not need to re-apply if restrictions are extended beyond four weeks. 

When restrictions end, any final payment in arrears may be adjusted to reflect the duration of the restrictions to the nearest week.

Eligibility

Whether or not your business is eligible will depend on where your premises are located and what level of restrictions are in place at any point in time.

You can apply if:

  • your business has been directly impacted by restrictions, and the type/sector is specifically mentioned in this list
  • you have a business bank account - this is the account your grant will be paid into if your application is successful
  • your business is registered for non-domestic rates - if you pay rates through a landlord rather than directly to a local authority you can still apply but must provide evidence through a copy of the lease agreement.

Limited companies (including Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations), sole traders, trust and partnerships can apply provided they meet the above criteria.

From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit on future payments for any eligible business operating multiple premises.  Businesses already in receipt of payments need not reapply. Business applying for the first time on or after 1 January should submit individual applications to each relevant local authority for all relevant premises in that area.

How to apply

Please note that applications are being processed on our behalf by the City of Edinburgh Council. You will be taken to an application form and other details on their website.

Apply for the Business Temporary Closure Fund

Apply online for the Business Temporary Closure Fund

Apply for the Business Restrictions Fund

Apply online for the Business Restrictions Fund

Funds that have now closed

Furlough Support Grant - closed Sunday 13 December 2020

The Scottish Government Furlough Support Grant provided businesses with grants of £1,650 to help meet the cost of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20% employer’s contribution that they are required to pay under the current UK Government Job Retention Scheme.

This fund was open to businesses in the five health boards that had to close due to increased restrictions and covers the period from 9 October to 31 October 2020. The Job Support Scheme went live on 1 November and does not require an employer contribution to wages for businesses that are closed.

The closing date for this fund was Sunday 13 December 2020. The final date for which any appeals, along with relevant documents and evidence, was Sunday 10 January 2021.

Other business support

Our Economic Development and Business Gateway team continues to support businesses in Midlothian. The service can be contacted by email and telephone. The team also provides funding updates through regular social media posts.

Business Gateway

The Business Gateway office is closed to visitors and advisers are all working remotely. Please direct all enquiries to [email protected] during this time.

Business Gateway will continue to provide website and social media updates related to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, so please do keep checking back to stay informed.

If you need adviser support, please contact the team at the email address below.

Business Gateway contact details

Follow us on social media

Business Gateway webinars

Business Gateway has a suite of webinars and online tutorials to help you manage your business now and for the future:      

Locate in Midlothian website

If you're looking to start a new business venture, grow an existing company, relocate with your family or simply want to visit the area, the newly launched Locate in Midlothian website gives you all the tools, support and information you need.

Online details

Economic Renewal Strategy

An ambitious new Economic Renewal Strategy has been approved for Midlothian, with the aim of protecting jobs, preserving business and tackling the adverse economic impact of COVID-19.

The Strategy sets out our partnership approach to managing the transition from lockdown and planning for the longer term challenges the local economy will face.

Business rates

The Scottish Government announced changes to non-domestic rates for the financial year 2020/21 to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19

Extra reliefs will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government's coronavirus advice will be treated as occupied.

You do not need to apply for this relief. It will be applied to your bill by your local council.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) Extension

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021.

Claims for furlough days in December 2020 had to be made by 14 January 2021.

You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

Full guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extension is available on GOV.uk

Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The UK Government has extended the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

Eligibility

The scheme will benefit self-employed individuals or those in a partnership whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, covering most people who get at least half of their income from self-employment. SEISS is a temporary scheme that will enable those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 55% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £5,160 in total.

How to Claim

This grant scheme opened for claims from 30 November 2020. Full details of how to apply will be made available via www.GOV.UK

Further financial support for the self-employed

Current guidelines are that the self-employed can claim Universal Credit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

The Money Advice Service has issued guidance for the self-employed and sole traders, and a useful tool to help you identify what your entitlement for Universal Credit would be.

See also the section on the HMRC Self-employment Income Support Scheme above.

If you are told by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has Covid-19, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum called a self-isolation support grant

Healthy Working Lives - Safe Return to Work

Ensure you are protecting your business, employees and customers with a safe return to work plan.

Healthy Working Lives, funded by Public Health Scotland, have practical information and guidance to help your business reopen.

Complete a risk assessment and engage with your staff to keep everyone informed and safe.

Jobs support (online portal)

Are you:

  • at risk of losing your job, facing reduced hours or need support to secure work?
  • a business looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19?

If so, you can register your details at a new Covid-19 Jobs and Support portal. It allows you to advertise jobs, search for live vacancies, recruit employers, link to employability support and find up-to-date information on your rights.

After you register, you can search for job opportunities, add your skills and qualifications, upload your CV and cover letter, and tailor your job preferences.

Hospitality and tourism job portal

A free-to-use jobs portal to help workers from the tourism and hospitality sectors who’ve found themselves displaced as a result of COVID-19 has been launched, supported by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and UK Hospitality.

The portal helps those who have already been made redundant or who have had contracts terminated. It also allowed companies, such as those in the food and drink, retail and care sectors with under-employed staff, to second them to work in other sectors during the crisis. Video-screening will be provided as part of the service to speed up the recruitment process.

The portal will not be visible to the public, and can only be accessed by the tourism and hospitality community through a link provided by participating companies.

If you're having to let go of staff, or if you're an organisation wishing to register vacancies, please email [email protected] to receive more information.     

Helplines to support businesses

Further Funding

  • Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation, launched a funding competition for innovation projects of between £25k and £50k
  • Creative Scotland – Sustaining Creative Development Fund, up to 100k open to individuals and organisations
  • British Business Bank have expanded the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) enabling smaller businesses to access this fund. This fund has been extended until 31 January 2021.

Data Driven Innovation Programme

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) Programme has allocated up to £100,000 to be released as small grants to enable staff and students at the University of Edinburgh to practically apply data-driven innovation ideas in support of communities, services and businesses in the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Region.

Future Fund

Future Fund issues convertible loans to innovative UK companies with good potential that typically rely on equity investment and are affected by COVID-19. The scheme is designed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank. For more information see the British Business Bank website, and the Future Fund factsheet (PDF).

  • The Future Fund closed for applications on Sunday 31 January 2021.

More information and useful contacts