As part of £220m of further grants being made available for businesses, Scotland’s SME’s will receive additional funding. The Scottish Government has made the further money available to provide Scottish firms with the same support as similar businesses in England and Wales. Grant support will be available on every property instead of per business, as previously stated in the guidance. This is good news for Scottish businesses.
The government is providing £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme. This means in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business ratepayers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties. The £25,000 grant scheme is included and the 75% grant applies to second properties.
An additional £100m is also being made available to assist the self-employed and other SME businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. This will be paid through local authorities and enterprise agencies. It is aimed at helping those who are recently self-employed and businesses which are not eligible for the Scottish Government and/or UK Government assistance already in place.
Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of April 2020 and new arrangements for the Small Business Grant should be able to receive applications by 5th May 2020. It is understood applications cannot be made through the current portals as these are for the 100% grant, therefore it seems businesses will have to wait until the beginning of May to apply for the additional 75% grants.
According to Scottish Government figures, approximately 100,000 businesses in total are already eligible for small business grants. More announcements clarifying who can apply and the criteria are expected shortly.
The original 100% grants are still available and can be applied for through the relevant Council website, up to 31st March 2021. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and up to and including £51,000 will be able to apply for a grant of £25,000. A grant of £10,000 is available to small businesses who have Small Business Bonus Scheme relief or Rural Relief. These reliefs must have been applied for before the grants can be applied for. Business owners and operators should check they have applied for these reliefs otherwise they may miss out on the grants. If reliefs have not been applied for, that should be done as a priority as the deadlines for these are much shorter than the grant deadline which extends to March 2021.
This grant is also available to those businesses who have applied for Nursery Relief, Business Growth Accelerator Relief, Disabled Relief or Fresh Start, but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.
In addition, self-catering accommodation and caravans are eligible for a grant if these are a primary source of income, which is defined as one third or more, for the ratepayer and were let out for 140 days or more in the financial year 2019-2020.
If a business is eligible for a grant or various grants, these do not need to be repaid.
The list of businesses which can apply is extensive and some may not have realised they are eligible. Even if businesses at first glance appear to be above the rates threshold, there may be alternatives so please contact us for advice.
The businesses which can apply for the grants are: amusements; animal welfares; arts centres; auction marts; bakeries; bed & breakfast accommodation; bingo halls; bowling alleys; bowling clubs; cafes; camping sites; car washes; caravans that are a primary source of income for the ratepayer (one third or more) and let out for 140 days or more in financial year 2019-2020; chalets; cinemas; clinics; clubs; cricket clubs; depots; entertainment centres; exhibition venues; football grounds; funeral parlours; galleries; gardens; garden centres; ; golf clubs; golf driving ranges; guest houses; halls; harbours; hostels; hotels; ice rinks; kiosks; laundries; leisure centres; markets; military facilities; museums; offices; outdoor centres; parks; petrol filling stations; play centres; playing fields; post offices; public houses; race tracks; racecourses; recreation grounds; restaurants; retail warehouses; riding schools; sailing clubs; self-catering accommodation if it is a primary source of income for the ratepayer (one third or more) and let out for 140 days or more in financial year 2019-2020; shooting ranges; shops; show homes; showrooms; ski clubs; snack bars; snooker clubs; sports centres; sports grounds; squash clubs; stables; stadiums; swimming pools; tennis clubs; theatres; visitor centres; warehouses; workshops; and youth hostels.
There are already some rates reliefs in place in Scotland. All non-domestic properties are receiving a 1.6% rates relief, effectively reversing the change in poundage for 2020-2021.
Owners/tenants do not have to apply for this relief – it will be applied automatically to the property’s rates bill by the relevant council. There are additional reliefs for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors who will receive 100% rates relief. To be eligible for this relief, the property has to be occupied. Properties which have closed temporarily due to the government’s Coronavirus advice are still treated as occupied. Again, this relief does not have to be applied for and will be applied automatically to the property’s rates bill by the relevant council.
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The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.