Covid-19 Business and employment

HMRC has now set up a help line specifically for the self-employed people and businesses who could be struggling due to COVID-19. You can contact this helpline at: 0800 0159 559. The general business support line for Scotland is 0300 303 0660

HMRC support during COVID-19

Other HMRC updates for your constituents

Support for Scottish businesses
£1 billion Business Support Fund opens

Grants to help businesses with Covid-19 impact

Businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The one-off grants are designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery, and more than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland will be able to benefit. The grant support is additional to separate tax relief measures and is part of a package of measures worth £2.2 billion. Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

• a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses

• a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Local authorities will aim to make payments within 10 working days. You can download the form and find out more information on the West Lothian Council page –

Actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses, including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
  • 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
  • urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
  • extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
  • halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill

Guidance for small businesses and the self-employed

This information from the Federation of Small Businesses is under continual review.

Citizens Advice Scotland has this advice for claiming benefits if you are self-employed

You can’t get SSP if you’re self-employed.

If you have to take time off work and you don’t get paid while you’re off, you might be entitled to claim benefits. If you’re already claiming benefits, you might get more money.

If you already get benefits like Tax Credits or Housing Benefit, tell the office paying you that you can’t work because you’re sick. You might be entitled to more money while you’re off work.

If you’re not claiming any benefits you might be entitled to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit to top up your income. Check if you can claim ESACheck if you can claim Universal Credit.

UK Government guidance for employers and businesses

This guidance includes details of support available to businesses including:

  • statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax

Employment rights and sick pay (this is useful from the House of Commons Library)

Coronavirus: Employment rights and sick pay (update)

Commercial rates reliefs

There’s a Scottish Government Q&A website on the emergency measures and funding announced for commercial rates reliefs. It will continue to be updated regularly so keep checking back.

ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, has some good advice including what to do if your employer has to close the workplace and what to do if an employee needs time off work to care for someone with Coronavirus. 


Lay-offs and short-time working

Some information/advice from the Government on lay-offs and short term working. 


Scottish Business Resilience Centre

Over the next few weeks SBRC will be hosting a series of business resilience webinars with industry experts to share  practical advice and guidance on a range of pressing subjects.