Scotland’s finance secretary Kate Forbes has announced a further £220m of grants for businesses, including the recently self-employed, to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Of the total, £100 million is being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to crisis.
This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.
This could well be of help to some rural businesses and diversified farm enterprises.
The balance of £120 million will be used to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75 per cent grant on all subsequent properties.
Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on May 5.
Ms Forbes said: “The creation of a £100 million fund is to help those micro and SME businesses who face immediate cash flow challenges, are ineligible for other schemes and are the productive base for supporting employment in the future. It will also support those newly self-employed people who are also ineligible for UK schemes.
"Just as we ask the public only to buy what they need in the supermarkets, we are asking businesses who do not need this vital help to refrain from claiming additional support unless absolutely necessary so we can direct as much help as possible to those who need it most.”
Graeme Davidson, partner with EQ Accountants in Forfar said: "This should be of help to the newly self-employed.
“That is those who have been in business only for less than 12 months and did not file a tax return in 2019. Hopefully it will also support those without rateable premises but there is not much detail so far.
"There is however more detail about the furlough scheme. The portal for employers to make claims is to open on April 20 with payments due to begin 10 days later."