Advice for businesses and jobseekers

Taxi and private hire driver support fund

We will be writing to all taxi and private hire licence holders from week beginning Monday 18 January 2021 about how to apply for the one-off, additional Scottish Government support of £1,500 for each eligible driver. 

This page will be updated with more details as soon as we get them, including a link to an online application form. 

Business Gateway Midlothian

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Coronavirus funding for businesses

On 9 December 2020, The Scottish Government announced a package of support for businesses and the wider economy totalling £570 million, including funding for the Strategic Framework Fund (see below) and local business support packages including the Newly Self-employed Hardship Fund and local authority discretionary business funding. These funds are not yet open to applications, so please bookmark and return to this website page for the latest updates.

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.

For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund which is due to go to businesses on 23 January 2021.

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. 

Latest payment information

The payment of the second round of 4-weekly payments for the Strategic Framework Business Fund was paid earlier than normal, on 18 December 2020.

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 from Level 4 to a temporary Lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. 

Current recipients of the Strategic Framework Business Support Grant don’t need to reapply - the next payment to eligible businesses will be made on 23 January 2021. For new eligible applicants from 26 December 2020, the next cycle of these grants will be paid on 23 January 2021.

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

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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 must 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 is open 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 will close for applications on Sunday 31 January 2021.

More information and useful contacts