COVID-19 Newly self-employed hardship fund

Before you apply

As part of its response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Scottish Government has launched the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund to provide hardship relief to newly self-employed individuals who have not been able to access support through other schemes.

We are responsible for administering the fund for Newly Self-Employed businesses within the Highland Council area.

Do I qualify?

Eligibility for this fund is defined by the Scottish Government. To be eligible you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must have become self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 (did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19)
  • Over 50% of your income is from self-employment
  • You must be trading below £50,000 in the 2019-2020 financial year
  • You must be able to provide evidence of trading up to March 2020 and intend to continue trading in the tax year 2020-21
  • You must have lost business due to coronavirus and experience personal financial hardship as a result
  • You must be ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support (including the Business Interruption Loan Schemes, Corporate Finance Fund, Job Retention Schemes, Future Fund, R&D Focussed SMEs Fund, HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Non-Domestic Rates relief, Small Business Grant or other business support)
  • You are not yet in receipt of state benefits payments (Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Income Support) or have applied for but not yet started receiving Universal Credit or an advanced payment of Universal Credit at the time of applying
  • You must be trading as self-employed, not as a limited company. If in a partnership, you must be self-employed for pay and tax purposes.
  • You must have taken steps to limit costs and expenditure (including through schemes such as VAT deferral and seeking a mortgage payment holiday)
  • You do not have access to sufficient savings or other sources of income to meet basic needs

Please use the UK Government Business Support Finder to assist you to determine whether you are eligible or not.

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

What can I apply for?

A one-off grant of £2,000 is available for newly self-employed individuals who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes. Applicants may only make an application for grant support to one local authority, and may not receive more than one payment under the scheme. If you receive the grant you can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.

The Scottish Government has given Highland Council an initial allocation of £812,433 to provide these grants. Further funding may become available to meet demand but this is not assured and the Council will operate the grant scheme as long as funds last. Completed applications will therefore be dealt with on a first come first served basis.