Newly self-employed hardship fund

This fund is to provide hardship relief to newly self-employed individuals who have not been able to access support through other schemes.

The Scottish Government fund, which is being managed by local councils, will be allocated to those eligible through £2,000 grants.


To be eligible, you must meet all of the criteria listed:

  • Became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 (did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19)
  • Over 50% of individual income is from self-employment
  • Trading profits below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20
  • Can provide evidence of active trading up to March 2020 and intend to continue trading in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost business due to coronavirus and experience personal financial hardship as a result
  • Ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support (including the Business Interruption Loan Schemes, Corporate Finance Fund, Job Retention Schemes, Future Fund, R&D Focussed SMEs Fund, HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Non-Domestic Rates relief, Small Business Grant or other business support)
  • Do not receive working age benefit payments (Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Income Support) or have applied for but not yet started receiving Universal Credit or an advanced payment of Universal Credit
  • Trade as self-employed, not as a limited company or partnership. If in a partnership, are self-employed for pay and tax purposes
  • Have taken steps to limit costs and expenditure (including through schemes such as VAT deferral and seeking a mortgage payment holiday)
  • Do not have access to sufficient savings or other sources of income to meet basic needs
  • Individuals may only apply once and only in one Local Authority area. This must be the Local Authority area in which they live, regardless of where they trade

How to apply

To apply, download and complete the application form below then email it with your supporting documents to [email protected]

Please follow this advice to reduce the risks of sending personal information by email:

  • Do not use a shared device to send your email.
  • Do not use an unsecured or public WiFi network to send your email.
  • Before sending, double check the email address you are sending to is [email protected].
  • After sending, delete your personal documents from your sent email.

Application form

Please read the eligibility criteria and supporting evidence requirements carefully, and send accurate documentation so we can process your application as quickly as possible.

Supporting documents

Mandatory Items (you must include all 3 in your application):

  • Proof of identity (ideally photographic, for example a valid passport or driving licence) 
  • Proof of address (for example a recent Council Tax bill or utility bill) 
  • Bank statements (business or personal) covering January, February and March 2020 showing account details (name, a/c number and sort code) and full transaction history as evidence of income and outgoings from self-employment

Plus any 2 of the following items must be included in your application:

  • Evidence of a supplier or reseller trade account (active)
  • Evidence of valid business insurance (current)
  • HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference (if registered).  If not yet registered, copy of correspondence/other details showing registration is being sought/or provide further details to explain position
  • VAT Registration Number
  • Marketing materials for your business, for example business website, active social media – provide links
  • Other evidence of business activity to support your claim

What happens next

  • You will receive an automated email acknowledging receipt of your application
  • The application will be processed and payment should be received within 10 working days
  • If you receive the grant, you can continue to work or take on other employment, including voluntary work
  • If you require additional support, please contact our Business Gateway team by email at: [email protected].

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