General Overview:

Businesses in Scotland will benefit from both the UK wide measures and the additional measures from Scottish Government. For Perth and Kinross based businesses, this package of support continues to include the following key measures.

  • The Strategic Framework Business Fund for businesses who area required to close by law, or to modify their operations by law, as part of the Scottish Government’s tiering system.
  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors.
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland. effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • Various options for furloughed workers to be paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Reclaim SSP for employees who are sick or self-isolating due to the coronavirus
  • SEE ALSO : Other Financial Help for government backed loan schemes and industry specific funds.

Details and links to apply

Financial Help from Government

Perth & Kinross Council’s Discretionary Fund is open for applications. The fund was doubled from its original £60 million to £120 million as of 10th February 2021 to allow councils to respond further to local economic pressures.

What is this fund? 

The PKC Discretionary Fund aims to provide direct financial support to businesses in the Perth & Kinross Council area, specifically to mitigate immediate financial challenges arising from the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations announced in October 2020.

UPDATE: An increase in Discretionary Grant payments from March 8th has brought the one-off grant award up to:

  • Owner operated businesses, no employees: £4,000
  • Businesses employing 2 – 10 staff: £7,000
  • Businesses employing 11 or more staff: £10,000

Qualifying businesses that received the initial one-off grants of £2000 will be topped up to bring payments to the new funding amounts outlined above.  

Please note, these businesses will be contacted directly via email and informing them of the additional payment. Please do not contact us – we will contact you. We may ask for additional evidence if required.

The Discretionary Fund also remains open to new applicants who will be awarded the one-off amount at the new, higher rate. See below.

Who is eligble? 

Small and micro-businesses – 50 employees or fewer – that have been unable to access other funding and support since October 2020 and are therefore experiencing hardship. 

The following businesses can apply:

  • Limited Company (including Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations and social enterprises)
  • Sole Traders
  • Trusts
  • Partnerships
  • Community Interest Companies
  • Freelancers
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Sub-contractors

Notes to consider re benefit payments

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit or any other Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits, receiving this grant may affect your benefit entitlement. This could mean you need to pay some money back to DWP, or that your future payments are reduced. 

How this affects you depends on your individual circumstances and you should contact DWP to confirm this. PKC cannot advise on individual circumstances. 

If you are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction from your Local Authority you are also under a duty to report this grant to the local authority’s benefits or council tax service.

Making Your Application

Please note: When making your application you will be asked to upload various supporting documents so it will be important to have these to hand and ensure all the required supporting evidence (e.g. bank statements) is submitted. Details of what you need is listed within the application form. 


The following types of businesses are NOT eligible for this fund.  Please see the PKC website for other available funds.

  • Any business which has received a grant through the Strategic Framework Business Fund (Closure/Restriction Fund)
  • Taxi, private hire and coach operators
  • Mobile Close Contact Services (including child minders and driving instructors)
  • Travel Agents
  • Brewers
  • Tour Operators
  • Visitor Attractions
  • Wedding and Events venues
  • Activity and Outdoor Tourism providers  
  • Hostels, Hotels, Guest Houses, B&B and Self Catering accommodation providers (including those paying Council Tax rather than Non Domestic Rates)
  • Inbound Tour Operators Events Industry providers

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time because of coronavirus, you may be able to delay it without penalty using HMRC’s Time to Pay service.

Who Can Apply?

  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service
  • This allows businesses and individuals to pay off their debt by instalments over a period of time.
  • Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities

You are eligible if your business:

  • Pays tax to the UK Government
  • Has outstanding tax liabilities

Call the HMRC Helpline on 0800 024 1222

Alternatively you can contact HMRC via webchat (Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm).

Advisers can only talk to you about problems paying your taxes due to Covid-19. This could be:

  • Self-Assessment
  • VAT
  • Employers’ PAYE
  • Corporation Tax

A link to the webchat facility is available via the HMRC section of the UK Government website.

The government made an announcement on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

  • hospitality
  • hotel and holiday accommodation
  • admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

These changes are being brought in as an urgent response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to support businesses severely affected by forced closures and social distancing measures.Hospitality

If you supply food and non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on your premises, for example, a restaurant, café or pub, you’re currently required to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20%. However, when you make these supplies between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 you will only need to charge 5%.

You will also be able to charge the reduced rate of VAT on your supplies of hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic drinks.

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Catering, takeaway food (VAT Notice 709/1).

Hotel and holiday accommodation

You will also benefit from the temporary reduced rate if you:

  • supply sleeping accommodation in a hotel or similar establishment
  • make certain supplies of holiday accommodation
  • charge fees for caravan pitches and associated facilities
  • charge fees for tent pitches or camping facilities

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Hotels and holiday accommodation (VAT Notice 709/3).

Admission to certain attractions

If you charge a fee for admission to certain attractions where the supplies are currently standard rated, you will only need to charge the reduced rate of VAT between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

However, if the fee you charge for admission is currently exempt that will take precedence and your supplies will not qualify for the reduced rate. More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in VAT: Admission charges to attractions.

The Flat Rate Scheme

If you are a small business and use the use the Flat Rate Scheme to simplify your VAT calculations you should be aware that certain percentages have been reduced in line with the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT. More information can be found in VAT Flat Rate Scheme.

The Tour Operators Margin Scheme

If you are a business that buys in and resells travel, accommodation and certain other services, and you act in your own name, you may operate the Tour Operators Margin Scheme to simplify your calculations.

Further information about how the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT will affect your calculations can be found in Tour Operators Margin Scheme (VAT Notice 709/5).

Accounting for supplies that straddle the temporary reduced rate

In most cases, you will simply account for VAT at 5% for supplies made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021. However, there may be situations where you receive payments or issue invoices before 15 July 2020 for supplies that take place on or after 15 July 2020.

More information about this can be found on >>>

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will now get support from the government.

Delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market the government will work with businesses and the industry on the full details of the scheme to ensure firms are supported and risk is appropriately shared between the government and insurers.

Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to hundreds of thousands of business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. As of April 2020 there was over £171 billion business activity insured, covering transactions between around 13000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers

It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment, giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another but due to Coronavirus and businesses struggling to pay bills, they risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels.

To prevent this from happening, the government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.

The guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of this month.

The guarantee will be temporary and targeted to cover CV-19 economic challenges, and will provisionally last until the end of 2020. It will be followed by a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future. Further details will be announced in due course.

The following benefits will happen automatically for all eligible businesses. You do not need to apply.

  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors.
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.
  • Coronavirus Business Contingency Fund: Phase 1 which provides one-off grants to nightclubs and soft play businesses required to close by law since March 2020.

HMRC has announced that VAT payments can be deferred under the following conditions. HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. See HMRC support for businesses page here >

If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:

  • join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23 February and 21 June 2021
  • contact HMRC if you need more help to pay

If you want to opt in to the new payment scheme, you can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022.

The scheme will allow you to pay your deferred VAT in up to 11 equal monthly instalments without adding interest. To use this scheme you must:

  • have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with your VAT returns
  • be able to pay the deferred VAT by Direct Debit

If you want to join the new scheme

The VAT deferral new payment scheme will be open from 23 February up to and including 21 June 2021.

If you’re on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, you’ll be invited to join the new payment scheme later in March 2021. More >

To use the online scheme you must:

  • join the scheme yourself, your agent cannot do this for you
  • still have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with your VAT returns
  • join by 21 June 2021

As one of the first measures announced by the UK Government to support businesses, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) funding for furloughed employees has been accessed for circa 9 million workers.

All employers with a UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee to claim now.

Employers can now furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked.

  • Claims for furlough days in March 2021 must be submitted by 14 April 2021

You will need to pay for employer NICs and pension costs. Find out more information on employer contributions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

HMRC: Changes To The Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30th September 2021 with assurances now made that the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 30th June 2021.

Changes to the level of grant from 1st July 2021
From 1st July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant you must continue to pay your furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.

You can continue to choose to top up your employees’ wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at your own expense.

The table below shows the level of government contribution available in the coming months, the required employer contribution and the amount that the employee receives per month where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

Government contribution: wages for hours not worked80% up to £2,50080% up to £2,50070% up to £2,187.5060% up to £1,87560% up to £1,875
Employer contribution: employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributionsYesYesYesYesYes
Employer contribution wages for hours not workedNoNo10% up to £312.5020% up to £62520% up to £625
For hours not worked employee receives80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month80% up to £2,500 per month

You can continue to choose to top up your employees’ wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at your own expense.

We know that keeping up with the various changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and ensuring that you’re using flexible furloughing to support your business is a job in itself.  The most up to date information can be found on the government website Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme page.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees.

The Scheme covers all types of employment contracts including full-time, part-time, employees on agency contracts and employees on flexible or zero hours contracts as well as fixed term contracts until the date their contract ends.

Please note, the weekly rate was £95.85 before 6 April 2021 and is now £96.35. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • Have coronavirus symptoms
  • Are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • Are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • Have been advised by letter to shield because they’re clinically extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
  • Have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days

Employers can make more than one claim per employee, but cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total. You can claim if you meet the following criteria.

  • You have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SPP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • You’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • You have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • You had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • An isolation note from NHS-111 if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus
  • A ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.

The online service you’ll use to claim back Statutory Sick Pay is now available.

Use the SSP calculator to work out the actual amount you can claim.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) supports self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships). This scheme allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Created to support those who work for themselves who are now experiencing financial difficulty, the scheme’s aims are to bring parity across the lives of all working people during this difficult time.

How the grant works

The scheme provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of grants, each available for three month periods.

The fourth grant will cover the period February 2021 to April 2021 and the fifth grant will cover the period May 2021 to September 2021.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

The fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant will be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500.

The fourth grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in tax year 2019 to 2020. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged.

Your eligibility for the scheme will now be based on your submitted 2019 to 2020 tax return. This may also affect the amount of the fourth grant which could be higher or lower than previous grants you may have received.

Who Can Claim

To be eligible for the fourth grant you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. To work out your eligibility HMRC will first look at your 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax return. Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income.

If you’re not eligible based on your 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax return, HMRC will then look at the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020. You must also have traded in both tax years:

  • 2019 to 2020 and submitted your tax return by 2 March 2021
  • 2020 to 2021

You must either:

  • be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
  • have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

You must also declare that:

  • you intend to continue to trade
  • you reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus

Further support

There will be a fifth and final grant covering May to September. You will be able to claim from late July if you are eligible for the fifth grant. The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

The fifth grant will be worth:

  • 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more
  • 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%

Further details will be provided on the fifth grant in due course.

How to claim

The online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date. This will be the date that you can make your claim from. There will be more guidance about the fourth grant in due course.

  • Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost UTR via the website.
  • National Insurance number – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost National Insurance number via the website.
  • Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, or have lost it, you can create one or find out how to recover your login details when you make your claim
  • UK bank details

Other Benefits for Self Employed

  • If you are sick or if you have been advised to self-isolate. You will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one instead of day eight.  Payments have been raised so that the self-employed receive the same amount as someone on statutory sick pay. This is currently £94.25 a week. You can make a claim for new style Employment and Support Allowance on the Government’s website. You’ll need to fill in a NSESAF1 claim form to apply for “New Style” ESA.
  • Claiming Universal Credit top ‘Top Up’ your income.  The minimum income floor (MIF) applies to those who’ve been self-employed for more than 12 months. The MIF assumes that self-employed people work 35 hours a week and earn the minimum wage. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) compares their real earnings with the MIF to work out their Universal Credit award. For full details go to the Self-employment and Universal Credit page on the website.

The Scottish Government have set up a business support helpline (0300 303 0660) for all business support enquiries in Scotland and request that businesses needing guidance contact them in the first instance on this number. Additional advice is available here >