Support for business

Coronavirus: support for Highland businesses

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.

In addition to looking at this site, we recommend that businesses also use the UK Government's support finder and the Scottish Government’s Find Business Support on a regular basis to find out what support is available.

For business advice 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  Highland@bgateway.com or telephone 01463 896791.

Grant Schemes delivered by Highland Council

The Scottish Government have asked the Council to deliver a number of business grant schemes on their behalf. The Scottish Government provide the funds for these grant schemes and also define the criteria to be used and who is to benefit from the grant.

Discretionary Grant Scheme

This scheme is now closed for applications.

The Discretionary Grant Scheme (December 2021 to January 2022) has been set up to help micro, small, and medium-size businesses which were unable to receive support from any of the grant schemes set up by the Scottish Government. It is to support businesses affected by the measures to control the spread of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus and who have lost trade (20% or more) during this key trading period.

The grant scheme will support eligible businesses with a payment from £500 to £2,000 (based on impact level).

The deadline for applications was set for this grant scheme as 5pm Monday 28 March, 2022.

For more details on the grant scheme and eligibility criteria  prospective applicants are advised to go to Discretionary Grant Scheme

Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund 2022

The Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund 2022 will provide a one-off payment to eligible drivers and operators who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in December 2021 and January 2022. The fund was announced by the First Minister on 5 January 2022 and applications for the first phase of funding closed on 2nd March 2022.

Following an extension to the grant scheme, from the 7 March 2022, the Council will on behalf of the Scottish Government, be opening the fund up more widely to all drivers and operators (including those who did not originally receive funding through the Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund in 2021).

For drivers you may now be eligible if:

  • you have been working or available for work as a taxi or private hire vehicle driver since 9 December 2021
  • you held a valid licence continuously for the period 9 December 2021 and which remains current and valid as at 31st January 2022
  • you have you experienced loss of income in December 2021 and incurred overhead costs and expenses

For operators you now may be eligible if:

  • you have experienced loss of income and incurred overhead costs and expenses.

From week commencing 7 March 2022, the Council will be contacting drivers and operators and asking them to complete and submit an application form if they consider themselves eligible for grant. If eligible for grant, payments will be made within 10 working days. If you have not been contacted by email from the Council by Monday 14 March 2022, please contact COVID-19grantenquiries@highland.gov.uk

All drivers and operators should note that the Scottish Government has set a deadline for the application form to be completed and returned to the Council. If the application form is not submitted by 17:00 hours on Friday 25 March 2022 to the Council, it will not be valid and no grant paid.

For full details of the grant scheme and rates of payment visit the Scottish Government webpage on Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund 2022

 

Business ventilation Grant Scheme

The Business Ventilation Grant Scheme seeks to help businesses improve ventilation and air quality on their premises to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The grant scheme will allow businesses to claim back costs to improve ventilation of up to £2500. The grant scheme is targeted to high-risk settings where people come into close proximity, such as hospitality and leisure sectors.

The grant scheme commenced on 23 November 2021 and will be available until Thursday 31 March 2022 or when funds provided by the Scottish Government are exhausted -  whichever occurs first.

Closing date

It will close to new applications at 5pm on 11 March 2022. Approved applications will have until 12pm on 31 March 2022 to submit their claim for reimbursement.

Other grants available

Following the measures introduced to control the spread of the Omicron variant, the Scottish Government has announced a support package for businesses immediately impacted by the updated public health guidance.  The Council will be responsible for the delivery of some of these grant schemes but certain business sectors will need to apply to other organisations and therefore not all grant schemes will be listed here.

We recommend that businesses use the Scottish Government’s Find Business Support  on a regular basis to find out what support is available.

If you have read all the information and guidance provided and still have questions, please email covidbusinesssupport@gov.scot

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