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 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.

Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund

The Scottish Government announced on 2 June 2021 that Taxi and Private Hire Drivers who previously received a grant under the Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund and still have a valid license will receive an additional grant of £1,500. This will be an automatic payment and the Council has been asked to start making the payments towards the end of the week commencing 7 June 2021.

If you are a Taxi operator, you may be eligible for a grant of between £1,000 - £15,000 depending on the number vehicle licences you hold. You do not need to apply as the Council will begin contacting all eligible vehicle licence holders from mid-June. The Council has been asked to make grant payment in June/July subject to receiving any relevant supporting information required, and where the eligibility criteria have all been met.

Further details on the Taxi and Private Hire Driver and Operator Support Fund can be found on the Scottish Government’s website.


Strategic Framework Business Fund

This grant scheme closed to new applicants on 22 March 2021. The final date set by the Scottish Government for businesses who have been rejected to appeal to us is 9 April 2021.

The Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF) grant scheme had two elements to it. One was a Temporary Closure Grant for when a business must close by regulation, while the other was a Business Restrictions Grant for when the business must operate in a restricted way as a result of the Coronavirus protective measures.

On 19 April 2021, all SFBF recipients will automatically receive a combined final 2-week supplement and a one-off restart grant to help them reopen.

  • Retailers in receipt of SFBF will be eligible for grants up to £7,500 based on rateable value:
    • for properties with a rateable value below £51,000: £7,000 (£6,000+£1,000)
    • for properties with a rateable value above £51,001: £7,500 (£6,000+£1,500)
  • Hospitality and leisure businesses in receipt of SFBF will be eligible for grants up to £19,500 based on rateable value:
    • for properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under: £9,000 (£8,000+£1,000)
    • for properties with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000: £13,000 (£12,000+£1,000)
    • for properties with a rateable value of £51,001 or over: £19,500 (£18,000+£1,500)

There is no separate application process for the restart grant.

The sectors of businesses that this fund and restart grant apply to include:

  • Public Houses
  • Licensed Clubs
  • Restaurants
  • Cafes and coffee shops
  • Hotels
  • Bed and Breakfasts/Guesthouses
  • Caravan and Camping sites
  • Self-Catering Accommodation
  • Hostels
  • Cinemas
  • Arcades
  • Soft-play centres
  • Funfairs
  • Indoor Bowling Centres
  • Theatres
  • Comedy Clubs
  • Nightclubs (including S.E.Vs)
  • Snooker/pool halls
  • Casinos
  • Licensed Bingo Clubs
  • Concert Halls
  • Indoor Gyms
  • Leisure Centres
  • Outdoor Activity Centres
  • Sport Clubs
  • Visitor Attractions including visitor centres
  • Museums and galleries
  • Dance
  • Exercise/Yoga Studios
  • Indoor football centres
  • Skating rinks and swimming pools
  • Snowsports centres
Retail (non-essential)
  • Baby equipment shops
  • Book Shops
  • Clothing Shops
  • Electrical Goods Shops, including Repair Shops
  • Garden Centres and Plant Nurseries
  • Homeware shops
  • Key Cutting Shops
  • Shoe Repair Shops
  • Hairdressers
  • beauticians, nail bars and other premises which provide other close contact services
  • Independent clinics and hospitals registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland excluding those that provide medical or surgical assistance
  • Mobility Support Shops
  • Travel Agents

Discretionary Grant Scheme

The Council launched its Discretionary Grant Scheme on 10 February 2021 to support businesses who have been unable to secure alternative grant support and have seen a significant reduction in trade – be that goods or services. Following an increase in the funding received from the Scottish Government, the Council has widened eligibility to the grant scheme and has increased the level of grant up to £4000.

Linked to this the Council has extended the deadline for applications and businesses now have until 5pm on 9 April 2021 to send in their completed application forms.

While it is now anticipated that there will be sufficient funds to provide grant for every eligible applicant, applications will continue to be processed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. However, to be fair to all, if an application is completed incorrectly and the right evidence is not provided, it will be paused to allow the Council to first process all the other fully completed applications.

Applicants are therefore urged to ensure they get their applications in as soon as possible but no later than 9 April 2021 and when doing so, ensure the online application form is completed correctly and the accompanying evidence is provided.

Applications for Discretionary Grant Scheme must be made by 5pm on 9 April 2021

Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Fund

This grant scheme closed to new applicants on 22 March 2021.

This grant scheme was for Bed and Breakfasts, Guesthouses and Self-Catering businesses which pay Council Tax and was established to provide equivalent levels of support to similar businesses who are on the non domestic register. 

All applications received are currently been processed.

Small accommodation providers paying council tax who are already registered for support payments under SAP-CTF will now receive a further payment of £9,000 in April. This is a combined payment made up of an £8,000 restart grant and a £1,000 two-week equivalent payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

There is no need to apply for these additional payments. If you are registered for support under this scheme, you will receive this payment automatically from the Council.

Applicants must return all outstanding documentation requested from them by 9 April 2021 to receive payment.

Other grants available

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

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