Advice for businesses and jobseekers

Coronavirus Restrictions Business Fund

The Scottish Government has announced funding for businesses in Scotland affected by the temporary coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions that came into effect from 9 October 2020.

The new and temporary business support funds will be administered by local authorities, providing one-off grants to businesses directly impacted by these restrictions.

Update - 21 October 2020

On 21 October, the Scottish Government announced additional financial support to cover the extension to the temporary coronavirus brake restrictions.  

These details have still to be finalised but please continue to complete an application if you think you are entitled to one of these funds. The new financial support levels will be applied to all successful awards. If you’ve already applied, you don’t need to submit another application as any top up payment will be automatically applied.

Business Closure Fund

This fund will be available to hospitality and other businesses required to close (except for takeaway) by these new restrictions regulations. You must be a hospitality or other business required by law to close under these new Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions

The closing date for the scheme is Tuesday 3 November at 5 pm.

It is a two-tier scheme:

  • £2,875 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000
  • £4,310 for businesses with a RV over £51,001 

An upper limit of £21,000 in total will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

Please note that applications for this fund are being processed on our behalf by The City of Edinburgh Council.  You will be taken to a page on their website with the appropriate application form and further guidance.

Apply for the Business Closure Fund

Business Hardship Fund

You must be:

  • a hospitality business and some gyms, required by the regulations to operate in a restricted way
  • a producer/wholesale business based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period

This fund is to support some businesses that remain open but are still significantly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close. It is also a two-tier scheme:

  • £1,440 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000
  • £2,155 for businesses with a RV over £51,001

An upper limit of £14,000 in total will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

Retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for the closure or hardship funds.

Please note that applications for this fund are being processed on our behalf by The City of Edinburgh Council.  You will be taken to a page on their website with the appropriate application form and further guidance.

Apply for the Business Hardship Fund

Multiple premises eligibility

If your business operates multiple premises you can apply for grants for each premise, applying only once to the local authority in which your business is headquartered. The maximum any one business can receive will be restricted, regardless of the number of premises. The upper limit for the business closure fund is £21,000 and the upper limit for business hardship fund is £14,000.

Evidence for your application

  • Your businesses must have been open and trading before 9 October 2020.
  • You must have a business bank account. This is the account your grant will be paid into if your application is successful.
  • Your business premises must be registered for Non-Domestic rates. Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly to a Council are eligible to apply (evidence to be provided through copy of lease agreement). 
  • Businesses which have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions are not eligible to apply. 
  • Businesses with connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, are not eligible to apply.

Applications are welcome from Limited Companies, Sole Traders, Trusts and Partnerships provided they meet the other criteria.

Retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for these closure or hardship funds.


Other business support

Our Economic Development and Business Gateway team continues to support businesses in the area by email and telephone, and through regular social media posts. Further information is also listed below.

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.

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.

Contact details

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 and phone numbers 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:      

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. A further amendment to the scheme on 15 April 2020 was implemented from 5 May 2020.

The Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund - closed on Friday 10 July 2020

This fund closed to new applications on Friday 10 July 2020. The City of Edinburgh Council has been dealing with applications on our behalf. You will be taken to a page on their website for any outstanding queries. 

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Claim the coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on the HM Revenue & Customs portal. This scheme is for the self-employed or a members of a partnership that have lost income due to coronavirus. The service opened to claims on Wednesday 13 May, with payments reaching bank accounts six working days after the claim is made.


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 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits) in a single instalment.

Where individuals are ineligible for the scheme, HMRC will direct them to guidance setting out the conditions to help them understand why they are ineligible, and advice about other support that might be available to them such as income tax deferrals, rental support, Universal Credit, access to mortgage holidays and the various business support schemes the government has introduced to protect businesses during this time.   

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.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The UK Government has issued further guidance on the recoverable costs for employers made on behalf of furloughed employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Costs include National Insurance and Pension contributions that are made above the mandatory employer contribution.

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

Funding and opportunities

  • UK Government guidance for employees, employers and businesses in providing advice about COVID-19
  • Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation, launched a funding competition for innovation projects of between £25k and £50k
  • The Community Action Fund has released funding of up to £10k to support charities that are making a significant difference in their communities as a direct result of COVID-19. The fund is to support charities to develop and deliver on these essential services
  • Creative Scotland Fund. Designed to provide support to sustain Scotland's creative community during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • British Business Bank have expanded the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) enabling smaller businesses to access this fund.

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.

Heritage Emergency Fund

The £50m fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000. It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.

Organisations which have received funding in the past or are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can still apply.

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).

More information and useful contacts