Scottish Government confirms financial support for newly self-employed

The Scottish Government has announced that support for the newly self-employed and firms suffering hardship to be paid in early May.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days.

The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

  • £34m Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
  • £20m Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief
  • £45m Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland

The Scottish Government is also providing £1m to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

She said: “This funding is intended to relieve the hardship of individuals and smaller firms that are ineligible for support from the UK Government or are not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive.

“Our hospitality, tourism and creative sectors have been decimated by this crisis and previously profitable businesses have seen demand dry up overnight.

“However, because of the decisions the Scottish Government has taken, thousands more self-employed people and small businesses will be able to benefit from support compared with elsewhere, and we have been able to help sectors of the economy that are not being supported in other parts of the UK.  

“As well as dealing with this immediate crisis, we must look to the future. We must ensure that those businesses with a part to play in strengthening resilience in Scotland’s economy survive this crisis and thrive in future, which is why £45 million is being allocated to those firms.

“We continue to engage with businesses on a regular basis to understand their needs and press the UK Government to deliver for them.”

Dr Liz Cameron OBE, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, added: “The extra support being made available to fill the gaps where it has so far been unable to reach businesses and employees is welcome, but we must insist that the mechanism of how to get this help is made clear and the cash is delivered as quickly as possible. The need for support is urgent and companies have already fallen by the wayside.

“Many businesses will want to see more detail on how the ‘response, reset, restart and recovery’ plan will clear the current perfect storm of uncertainty. The Chamber Network is ready to play our part in a constructive way with the Scottish Government to help forge the way ahead. Businesses are anxious to work towards how we can rebuild our businesses and retain jobs.”

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.

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