Strategic Framework Business Fund

Before you apply

The Scottish Government on 23 October 2020 announced, alongside the introduction of a levels approach, a new package of support to help businesses closed or impacted by protective measures.

The Council has been asked to administer the grants scheme and will be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible businesses. The Scottish Government will fund local authorities to make these payments, providing eligibility guidance, information on funding levels and periods each time levels change.

Linked to Scotland’s Strategic Framework, the purpose of this grant is to provide, from 2 November 2020 onwards, support to specific businesses closed or directly impacted by law, in the form of:

Business Temporary Closure Fund

This grant will be available to businesses required to close by law.

It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a grant of £2,000 for premises which have a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000 and a grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV of £51,001 and above.

This grant will be payable every four weeks, in arrears, for the duration protective measures are in place.

An upper limit of £15,000 in total in any four-week period will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises. 

Business Restrictions Fund

This grant will be available to support some businesses that remain open but are specifically required to modify their operations by law.

This means that they are required to close earlier than normal, for example, not that they have to:

  • adopt physical distancing or;
  • that the demand for their products or service has been reduced because of the pandemic. 

This grant also operates as a two-tiered scheme, with payments of £1,400 or £2,100, dependent on Rateable Value, payable every four weeks, in arrears, for the duration measures are in place.

An upper limit of £10,500 in total in any four-week period will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

Does my business qualify?

The businesses that are eligible for grant support are set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

As Highland is a Tier 1 area the following applies to Highland businesses.

Businesses/premises required to close and eligible for a Temporary Closure Grant


A nightclub is an entertainment premises that is open until at least 2am at the weekend, and the main or routine operation of the premises is after 7pm, and where the majority of the premises are given over to permanent dance floor facilities. It must also: 

  • have a permanent DJ Performance Area/Booth;
  • be licensed for Recorded Music, Dance Facilities & Live Performance (at Q5 Activities Matrix within the Premises Licence Operating Plan) and;
  • the premises Licence Operating Plan at 5(g) must confirm it trades Post 1am with music exceeding 85 DB and more patrons likely to be standing than seated.

Businesses eligible for a Business Restrictions Grant

  • Theatres, sports stadia, conference and exhibition centres, comedy clubs, concert halls and music venues subject to a specific cap on the number of people who can attend an event.
  • All Hospitality subjected to time restrictions on their operations (i.e. no admittance after 9.30pm, closure by 10.30pm) by law - includes restaurants, pubs, bars, licenced sports and social clubs and licensed premises. 

The Business Restrictions Grant is only for hospitality businesses that are legally required to close earlier than normal. It is not for businesses who, for example, have had to adopt physical distancing or for those accommodation providers who have lost or reduced trade due to travel restrictions, or for food takeaways. 

The Highland Council has now received and welcomed clarification from the Scottish Government that licensed hotels are eligible for the Business Restriction Grant. As hotel restaurants and bars follow the same rules as other restaurants and bars with last entry at 9:30pm and closure by 10:30pm, they are considered as eligible businesses to receive grant from this scheme.

Who's eligible?

To be eligible for this support you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your business falls into one of the following two categories:
    • Your business is required to close by law for the duration protective measures are in place.
    • Your business remains open but is specifically and legally required to modify its operations as a result of protective measures (businesses closed or where the eligible element of the business is closed for the season are not eligible).
  • Your business was trading on Monday 2 November 2020.
  • You must have a business bank account.
    • This is the account your grant will be paid into if your application is successful.
  • Your business premises must be registered for Non-Domestic rates prior to 2 November 2020. To establish if your business is eligible or not, please refer to the Scottish Government's Help for non-domestic ratepayers in Scotland during Coronavirus (COVID-19) or the Scottish Assessor.
  • Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly to a Council are eligible to apply (evidence to be provided through copy of lease agreement).
  • Businesses which have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions are not eligible to apply.
  • Businesses with connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, are not eligible to apply.
  • Limited Companies, Sole Traders, Trusts and Partnerships can apply provided they meet the other criteria.
  • Your business is based within the Highland Council area
    • For businesses with multiple premises, your business must be headquartered within the Highland Council area

If you do not qualify please see our Support for business page.

Closing Date

At the current time the Scottish Government have advised that applications can be made up to 31 March 2021. 

Given the uncertainty associated with the pandemic and the fact that Highland could move up or down levels within Scotland’s Strategic Framework, and that grants may be made every four weeks, the Council urges eligible businesses to apply as soon as possible.

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