Business Info


The Scottish Government has issued new guidance for businesses to help determine whether they should be regarded as essential or not.

In short, all business premises, sites and attractions should close now unless:

  • essential to the health and welfare of the country or

  • supporting (or being repurposed to support) essential services; or

  • capable of working with social distancing; or

  • wider public health, health and safety or other considerations apply and require a facility or service to continue to operate for a specific period for a safe shutdown process to be completed.
Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors include Energy; Communications – Telecommunications, Public Broadcast, Postal Services, Internet; Government; Transport; Finance; Civil Nuclear; Defence; Chemicals; Space; Government; Health; Food; Water and Waste; Emergency Services) but not everything and everybody within a national infrastructure sector is 'critical'. 

Business should look critically at their role and operations. 

Non-essential business sectors – like construction (unless it is essential construction, such as a hospital) – should close unless and until we can all be clear how operations can be undertaken safely. 

All individuals and businesses that are not being specifically required to close should consider a key set of questions– and always work on the precautionary basis:
  • Is what you do essential or material to the effort against the virus or to the wellbeing of society?

  • if so, can your staff work from home?

  • if not can you practise safe social distancing and comply with ALL other standard health and safety requirements.

  • If the answer to none of the above questions is yes, our advice on a precautionary basis is to close.

Self-employed gardeners, window cleaners, or those working in rural areas – where there is no contact and you can practise safely, then you can continue to work.

Check the advice for retail and other sectors here

A full list of business support is available here from the Scottish Government.



The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million.  Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.

An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors.

Support is also being developed for others in the shellfish growing sector.


If you require more immediate financial support and intervention, please contact your own bank or creditors in the first instance. Short term extensions to overdrafts or other solutions may be available until the following government measures are in place. Please consider your options carefully and please hang in there - we are trying to get help to you.

The UK Government’s support for business was announced on 20 March.
Full details are available here. 

The Chancellor has asked that no employer shed any staff in light of these commitments.

The package announced by the Chancellor included:

  • The creation of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will see any employer in any sector, be it a commercial enterprise, charity etc, able to apply to HMRC for it to pay 80% if the salary of any employee who is unable to work as a result of the pandemic, either through illness, self-isolation or furlough (a leave of absence).

HMRC will pay the salary of each employee up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This will pay for any number of employees in each organisation.

It will be backdated to the beginning of March. It will initially be available for 3 months but this is also open to extension for as long as the crisis lasts.

  • If your business needs short-term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. These loans will be available from 23 March 2020 and will be interest free for 12 months. More information can be found here

  • To help business’ cash flow the UK Government will defer the next quarter of VAT (up to end of June) until January 2021.

Business support is partially decided at a devolved level, meaning Scottish businesses should pay attention to what is announced by the Scottish Government as well as the UK Government. Both of Scotland’s governments have made a commitment to make their measures as consistent as possible.

The Scottish Government has also already announced some business support measures. These include:

  • a 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020 (this differs from the relief in England of 100% up to £51,000 RV)

  • an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19 (sectors still to be determined)

  • 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
  • a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020

Further measures announced on the 18th of February:

  • 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

  • the relaxing of 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

Scottish businesses can call a new advice helpline on 0300 303 0660. 

Information can also be found here through the Business Gateway

The Federation of Small Businesses has created a dedicated business support hub, containing a wide range of useful, constantly updated information. This is open to all businesses, non-members included 

If you need help and advice, see the links and hotline numbers below: 

  • The Scottish Govt have set up a helpline number for businesses is 0300 303 0660, which will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30 am to 5.30 pm.

  • The Federation of Small Businesses has created a dedicated business support hub, containing a wide range of useful, constantly updated information. This is open to all businesses, non-members included. 

  • UK Govt has set up a separate mailbox to help facilitate any offers for help from business aside from ventilators. These offers can be in relation to property, logistics, food supply, other medical equipment, and so on. The more information which businesses/people can provide about their offer, the better. The email address for these additional business offers is [email protected] 

  • HMRC have set up hotlines for businesses and self-employed people for specific COVID advice - 0300 456 3565 and 0800 0159 559

  • Seafish - a non-departmental UK Government body for the fishing industry - is offering help with supply chains and giving tailored advice to fishermen and fish processors. Email [email protected] or visit their website 

See below for information on HMRC support:


  • Has now waived everyday banking fees and overdraft charges for SMEs with turnover under £250,000

  • Will no longer require personal guarantees on the CBILS Loans


Advice for Event Holders

Tourism Business Support



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