Advice for businesses and jobseekers

Current restriction level

All of Scotland is currently at Level 3. From 17 May, mainland Scotland, including Midlothian, and some islands will move to Level 2. Some islands will move to Level 1. Moray is likely to remain at Level 3. Find out more about the changes from 17 May.

COVID-19 Discretionary Fund – CLOSING DATE FRIDAY 21 MAY 2021, 5pm.

The purpose of this fund is to provide financial support to Midlothian-based businesses that have been unable to secure any COVID-19 business grant support since October 2020, or, where they have had COVID-19 business grant support, they can clearly demonstrate that this has not been sufficient to keep them in a viable trading position.

This grant is open to small businesses, micro businesses and the self-employed. The business or those that are self-employed must be able to demonstrate business viability before 17 March 2020. Essentially this means as a sole trader, that this is a business that provides you with a full time wage and is not a hobby business.

What types of businesses can get help?

This fund is open to businesses with premises or those that operate from home. This can include consultants, tradespeople, crafters and makers, as well as enterprises that employ staff.

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 10 or more - £7,500

Please note the closing date. 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 any form of Covid Support Funding since October 2020, to include Mobile Close Contact, Newly Self Employed, Strategic Framework Fund, Taxi and Private Hire Support 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)

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
  • The business must be able to demonstrate viability (turnover sufficient to cover full time living wage for owner/operator)
  • The business must have been profitable in the financial years 2018/19 & 2019/20
  • 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 250 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 are unsure as to whether you are eligible please email bg@midlothian.gov.uk with your full business name and address requesting an adviser calls to discuss eligibility.

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 of submitting a complete application, 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: Econ-dev@midlothian.gov.uk with ‘Discretionary Fund enquiry’ in the subject bar. 

Appeals 

Private Hire Driver Support Fund

This fund closed to new applications on Thursday 25 March.

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

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

Further information

Business Gateway Midlothian - COVID-19 business fund enquiries

All enquiries about funding should be emailed to BG@midlothian.gov.uk 

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.

Coronavirus Strategic Framework Business Fund

This fund closed to new applications on 22 March 2021.

Midlothian applications are being administered by The City of Edinburgh Council. For information on this fund please see:

Payment enquiries:

If you have received confirmation that your application has been successful but either:

1. Your payment has not been received by the expected payment date, or

2. The value you have received is different to what you believe you are entitled

Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Services Fund

This fund closed for applications on 23 March 2021.

The fund was for owners and operators of mobile and home-based close contact service businesses and for Registered Driving Instructors. 

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

This fund closed for applications on 23 March 2021.

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

Funds awarded

Midlothian Council has produced an infographic factsheet, showing the level of funding support local businesses received during the pandemic, up to January 2021.

A total of £14,350,535 in Scottish Government funding was awarded up to the end of January, with 1,194 Business Support Grants paid out.  A further 223 businesses benefited from a range of other support funds.

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 bg@midlothian.gov.uk 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

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, Leisure and Aviation (RHLA) relief

Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will get 100% rates relief during 2021-22. 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.

Please note that you will be taken to a page on the City of Edinburgh Council's website.

Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The UK Government has announced a fourth grant instalment as part of the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

This grant is equal to 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits. It will be paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total.

The fourth instalment of this grant covers the 3-month period from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.

The grants are taxable income and also subject to National Insurance contributions.

A fifth and final instalment of the SEISS grant will cover May to September 2021. This can be claimed from late July 2021 if you are eligible.

The fifth grant will be worth:

  • 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduced by 30% or more
  • 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduced by less than 30%

Eligibility

The scheme will benefit self-employed individuals or those in a partnership whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.. 

How to Claim

This grant scheme opened for claims from late April to 31 May 2021. You’ll be able to claim for the fifth grant from late July.. 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 HospitalityUnite@Harri.com to receive more information.     

Helplines to support businesses

More information and useful contacts

 

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