Support for business

Coronavirus: support for Highland businesses

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months. It is intended to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19 with the aim of helping to keep employees attached to the workforce.

It will ensure employees will keep their job by continuing to pay its employee for time worked but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction).

The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77 per cent of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Further information on Job Support Scheme

Further information on Job Retention Bonus

Business Hardship Fund

As part of its response to COVID-19, the Scottish Government is making grants available to businesses closed or impacted due to the COVID-19 Brake Restrictions which came into effect on 9 October.

These new and temporary business support funds will be administered by The Highland Council, providing one-off grants to businesses very directly impacted by the restrictions implemented on 9 October.

As part of its Coronavirus Restrictions Fund, the Scottish Government also has another grant scheme called the Business Closure Fund. This grant scheme is only open to businesses that are required by law to close, in the following health board areas:

  •  Ayrshire and Arran
  • Forth Valley
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Lanarkshire
  • Lothian

Highland based businesses are therefore not eligible to apply for this grant.

More information

Transitional Support Fund

The Transitional Support Fund closed on 9 October 2020 for applications. If any questions arise on payment or status please contact your local contact in the first instance.

More information

Supporting economic recovery in Highland

Highland Council appreciate that this is a very difficult time for your business and we are here to support you as much as we can.

This webpage seeks to give a clear guide to the range of support announced for business, their employees and the self employed by the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Council. The advice from both governments is evolving and we will continue to update this page as further information becomes available.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. Businesses may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether the business is open or closed.

To find out what support is available, use the Government's support finder.

Wage support

Business will be able to secure a subsidy towards the salary costs of their employees who otherwise would have been laid off. Called the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme employers will be able to secure up to 80% of the cost of an employee's cost up to a maximum of £2500 per month per employee until end of May 2020.

HMRC will deliver this wage subsidy and as of 15 April 2020 there have been updates on payroll date, pension contributions and eligibility.

Businesses can check if they are eligible and how much they can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave ('furlough') due to coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Government's Job Retention Scheme web page.

The Cornonvirus Business Interruption Scheme has been extended. SME's with annual turnover of up to £45m can access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. All viable SME's now eligible.

Sick Pay

Small-and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. They will be able to reclaim 2 weeks' SSP per eligible employee. There will be no need to provide a Doctors Fit Note but employers need to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.

No detailed arrangements are yet available on how the repayment mechanism will work and how to apply.

Business Support

Visit our Business Gateway service. This includes a range of guidance and information online about business continuity planning, and a number of additional related articles, including webinars and tutorials to support you.

The Business Gateway Highland team can be contacted on 01463 896791.

Further information and advice on support from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to help with the impact of COVID-19 can be found on the UK Government's dedicated support page.

To manage calls during the current COVID-19 emergency the team will operate a call back service.

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