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COVID – 19: Business Hub - Perthshire Chamber of Commerce

COVID – 19: Business Hub

Please find available resources here (and to the right).  This will be updated regularly.

If you can't find what you are looking for or have any queries, please do get in touch and we will do whatever we can to help.

LATEST QUICK LINKS & MAJOR RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

29/05/2020

Chancellor Extends Self-Employment Support Scheme and Confirms Furlough Steps (from Scottish Chambers of Commerce)

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has tonight confirmed that the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended, giving more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus in the coming months, the Chancellor announced today.

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The Chancellor also set out more details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work, following the announcement of an extension of the scheme on 12 May.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

  • June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything;
  • August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed;
  • September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed; and
  • October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

Responding to the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak MPs’ announcement, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“Businesses are mindful that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has cost billions and the pot of money to support employers and the economy is not unlimited. This has been a lifeline for the majority of Scottish businesses preventing a mass tsunami of people losing their jobs. 

“The big challenge for Scottish businesses is the UK government’s new tapered approach is not aligned with the Scottish Government’s roadmap. This misalignment will affect crucial areas of the economy such as tourism which are forced to close for longer.

“Before tapering hits, we need to ensure all sectors of our economy are able to generate trade so they are able to pay employees. Currently there is still a lack of clarity for businesses in Scotland over when they can re-open.

"We urge the chancellor to adopt measures to ensure that businesses facing ruin as the furlough scheme tapers aren’t forced to fall at the last hurdle.’’

 

21st May 2020

COVID-19 Framework for Decision Making

The Scottish Government has today (21 May) published COVID-19 Framework for Decision Making – Scotland’s Route map through and out of the current lockdown.

This update sets out how and when Scotland might ease lockdown restrictions, based on the framework set out by the World Health Organisation, and takes account of the experiences of other countries as they have started to come out of lockdown. It provides practical examples of what of what people, organisations and businesses can expect to see change over time.

 

18.05.2020

Most up to date collation of business support for COVID-19 situation (from Scottish Government 18.05.2020)

 

01.05.2020

Perthshire Chamber to Launch "Recovery and Resilience Programme" and Membership Promotions to help region's businesses through COVID-19 

Exciting programme to harness value of local business community to support each other.  READ MORE

 

Perthshire Chamber Publication Launched: YOU ASKED WE DELIVERED 

Our 'You Asked We Delivered’ publication (which has been worked on and created with our close colleagues at Scottish Chambers of Commerce) showcasing the breadth of business representation we have undertaken and the Results we have achieved as a Network on behalf of our collective business membership.

I am sure you will agree that never before has our role been more critical in its ability to speak on behalf of our membership and actively influence Governments at the highest levels to ensure policy supports our businesses, communities and the economy. Our Network has achieved an immense amount on behalf of our members but we know there is more to do and we will keep our foot on the gas.  READ MORE

 

External Coronavirus Insight 1st May 2020 (Compiled by the Scottish Enterprise Insights and Economics team – 1st May 2020)

 

29.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister announced extra support for the manufacturing industry as it prepares to reopen in Phase 2. The Scottish Government is providing an additional £20 million for Scotland’s new National Manufacturing Institute, bringing its total investment to £75 million. She also confirmed that the contract to build the new Institute, which will be operated by the University of Strathclyde, has been awarded to Morrisons Construction.

You can read the First Minister’s full statement here.

The First Minister was joined at the briefing by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop, who announced an additional £15.8 million of investment in the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund and confirmed 12 successful bidders including universities, colleges, third sector organisations and local authorities. They will offer free services across the country to help small and medium-sized enterprises develop their manufacturing capabilities.

Food Standards Scotland has published updated guidance for food business operators and their employees to assist the food and drink sector in following government guidance on infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19.

The Chancellor has announced an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and set out further details on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Intellectual Property Office has declared that from 24 March until further notice will be classed as interrupted days, during which deadlines will be extended.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

28.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister announced that Scotland will move to Phase 1 of easing the COVID-19 lockdown from tomorrow, 29 May.

As part of the move to Phase 1 most outdoor work that has been put on hold can resume, and the construction industry will be able to restart site preparation.

You can read the First Minister’s full statement here.

After working with representative bodies, employers and trade unions from the construction sector, updated guidance has been published to help construction restart safely and recover from the damaging impact of COVID-19.

The weekly statistical update on the Coronavirus business support fund grants was published today.  

Guidance has also been published on practical measures to allow schools to re-open on 11 August.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

27.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today’s media briefing was replaced by First Minister’s Questions, you can read a full transcript of the session here.

Finance Minister Kate Forbes has laid an exceptional summer budget revision before the Scottish Parliament today showing that Scottish Government spending on measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic has reached just over £4 billion.

Trade Minister Ivan McKee delivered a statement to Parliament today updating on the mobilisation of the Scottish manufacturing base and sourcing to support NHS Scotland. His full statement can be read here.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

26.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister provided further detail on NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect programme, Scotland’s approach to implementing the 'test, trace, isolate, support' strategy.

In her statement she announced that the Scottish Government has published guidance for employers, making clear they should support anyone who is asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect, as well as general advice for anyone who is asked to self-isolate.

You can read her full statement here.

In Parliament today Transport Secretary Michael Matheson set out the Transport Transition Plan, guidance for operators and guidance on how to travel safely. You can watch his full statement here.

New guidance has been published for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work, as well as guidance for customers. The Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Health and Safety Executive and local authorities have also published a joint statement on safe workplaces. You can watch the Economy Secretary’s statement to Parliament here.

The Deputy First Minister provided additional information on the reopening of schools.

Small businesses and employers across the UK who have paid statutory sick pay to staff taking coronavirus-related leave will be able to claim back the money through a UK Government scheme from today.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

23.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has written to the UK Government urging them to provide certainty when announcing funding for Scotland to tackle the Covid crisis.

The UK Government has announced that Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland are to receive a funding boost of up to £15m to help them deal with increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

22.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister provided more detail on COVID-19 Framework for Decision Making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis. She stressed that current lockdown arrangements remain in place. You can read her full statement here.

Funding of more than £8 million has been announced for community projects to help combat isolation.

The Home Secretary has announced new measures at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections as well as further visa extensions for overseas nationals who cannot return home due to the pandemic.

Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to Coronavirus will be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

21.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At First Minister’s Questions today, an update was given on National Records for Scotland figures on COVID-19 related deaths.  Between 11th to 17th May, 332 deaths relating to the virus were registered, a decrease of 83 from the previous week.  Full details are available here.

The Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund has been increased by £40 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the economy. The extra funding will help meet demand for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund. 

The UK Government’s Future Fund has opened for applications today with an initial £250 million available for investment through the scheme.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

20.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At First Minister’s Questions today, an update was given on National Records for Scotland figures on COVID-19 related deaths.  Between 11th to 17th May, 332 deaths relating to the virus were registered, a decrease of 83 from the previous week.  Full details are available here.

The Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund has been increased by £40 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the economy. The extra funding will help meet demand for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund. 

The UK Government’s Future Fund has opened for applications today with an initial £250 million available for investment through the scheme.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

19.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on employment figures published today, covering the period to the end of March. 
 
The First Minister announced that the Scottish Government is investing a further £33 million to support people back to work as the economy gradually opens up again. Most of this will be allocated to Fair Start Scotland, the devolved employability service, with a particular focus on helping those most adversely affected in times of economic downturn - young people, disabled people and lone parents. You can read the First Minister’s full statement here.
 
The UK Government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.
 
Small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.
 
Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/ 
 
There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.
 
The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

18.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister announced that from today the Scottish Government is widening the number of people who can be tested for Covid-19. Anyone over the age of five, who has any of the three symptoms of Covid-19 – a continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of sense of taste or smell – will now be able to book a test.

The First Minister also confirmed that the Scottish Government will publish a route map on Thursday setting out a phased approach to easing lockdown measures, giving a more detailed indication of the order in which we will carefully and gradually seek to lift current restrictions. You can read her full statement here.

The UK Government has announced that it will invest £35 million to protect critical freight routes.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here

 

16.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

n/a

 

15.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister committed to share further information next week on assessments being made and options being considered to ease the lockdown.  

She also gave an update on polling carried out on public attitudes in Scotland, which has found that:

  • 84% of people agree with a slow and gradual lifting of restrictions 
  • 82% agree that before further significant changes to lockdown restrictions are brought in, the impact of those already introduced should be assessed 
  • 86% continue to agree that decisions on when and how to lift restrictions must be based on saving lives and protecting the NHS

You can read the First Minister’s full statement here.

The UK Government has agreed a deal with technology company Honeywell to manufacture 70 million face masks for frontline workers at its Newhouse facility in Scotland.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

14.05.2020

n/a

 

13.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today’s media briefing was replaced by First Minister’s Questions. You can read a full transcript of the session here.

Before taking questions, the First Minister gave an update on weekly Covid-19 statistics published by National Records of Scotland.

Scottish Enterprise and partners have advised that the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund will reopen for new applications from mid-morning on Thursday 14 May 2020.  Full details are available here.

Applications are now open for the UK Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

12.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

 

 

10.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on lockdown measures, announcing that advice on how often people can venture outdoors for exercise is being changed from tomorrow (Monday, May 11).  The First Minister’s full speech can be read here.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell announced earlier that families on lower incomes and older people are to get more support with extra funding for lifeline services to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement this evening the Prime Minister outlined changes to lockdown measures in England. With the exception of his comments about border control all other changes apply to England only. His full statement can be read here. The First Minister has set out the position in Scotland here.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

09.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today Trade Minister Ivan McKee announced that more vital personal protective equipment (PPE) will be manufactured in Scotland following the establishment of a new NHS Scotland supply chain, with contracts between NHS Scotland and a number of Scottish-based companies.

The UK Government has also welcomed collaborations with a number of organisations which will see millions of items of PPE given to NHS and social care staff across the UK over the coming months.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

08.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister asked people to continue to comply with the lockdown restrictions as that remains our best chance of continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Read her speech here.

She also announced that an additional £45 million is being made available to businesses through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.  This provides grants to SMEs which are vital to Scotland’s local or national economy but have been made vulnerable by this crisis. Full details are available here.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

The NHS Inform webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

07.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on lockdown measures, advising that these remain unchanged. You can read the full speech here.

Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart has announced that housebuilders will be able to apply for short-term loans of up to £1 million from the Scottish Government to support them through the coronavirus outbreak.

A new £5 million programme will offer an internet connection, training and support, and a laptop or tablet to vulnerable people who are not already online during the response to coronavirus.                    

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

06.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today’s media briefing was replaced an extended First Minister’s Questions. You can read a transcript of the full session here.

The Scottish Government has announced a one-off £75 million increase in funding for Scotland’s universities to ensure they can protect their world-leading research programmes against the financial impact of COVID-19.

The Scottish Government is also backing a four-nations marketing campaign in support of dairy farmers during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Chancellor has announced that more than 69,000 Bounce Back Loans worth over £2 billion have been approved during the first 24 hours of the scheme.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

05.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister said that a new document has been published, providing an update on ‘COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making’. The update sets out further information about the challenges Scotland faces and provides illustrative examples of the steps that might form part of the initial changes to the current lockdown restrictions.

You can read the First Minister’s statement here.

As advised earlier today, the second phase of the Small Business Grant scheme – which extends grant support to all subsequent eligible properties - is now open for applications.  A review to examine how Scotland’s tech industry can help the economy recover from the impact of COVID-19 has also been announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.  Full details are available here.

A £5 million fund will offer interest-free loans to landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent during the Covid-19 crisis.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

04.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today, the First Minister outlined a key part of the approach that will be taken when Coronavirus has been sufficiently suppressed and we are able to start moving on to the next phase. This known as test, trace, isolate and a new paper has been published giving details of how this would work.

You can read the First Minister’s daily update here.

This afternoon a third charter flight landed at Prestwick Airport carrying PPE and other supplies for NHS Scotland. In under three weeks, the Scottish Government has flown in 27 million face masks and 120,000 testing kits from China, adding to the national stockpile to keep key workers safe.

Scottish Enterprise and partners have advised that due to an exceptionally high volume of applications, from 5pm tomorrow, 5 May the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund will pause to allow detailed assessment of initial applications. The fund is expected to reopen to applications next week.

The UK Government’s Bounce Back Loans launched today with businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. It has also been announced that people who can't work their normal hours because of coronavirus (COVID-19) will still receive their usual tax credits payments.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

01.05.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on testing. Daily capacity in NHS labs is now 4,350 tests, exceeding the previous target of 3,500. In addition, daily testing capacity from the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow is 4,000, meaning Scotland’s total capacity is now 8,350 per day. This figure is expected to rise to 12,000 by the middle of the month.

You can read the First Minister’s full statement here.     

Trade Minister Ivan McKee has welcomed an announcement by Berry BPI that two of its Scottish bases, Greenock and Dumfries, have been equipped alongside two English sites to assist in the production and supply of PPE for NHS workers.

Updated guidance on essential construction sites during the pandemic has been published. Details are available here.

Finally, registrations to volunteer to help communities and public services in Scotland have reached more than 76,000.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

30.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister announced that the £100 million package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses and newly self-employed people is open for applications*.

*The application site for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience and the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Funds is running much slower than Scottish Enterprise would like, due to the volume of applications.  Therefore, they will close the site between 10pm tonight and 8am tomorrow to address the issue. From tomorrow, applicants can access these funds and more via the Find Business Support website. There will be no delay to applications being assessed.

You can read the First Minister’s speech here.     

New statistics have been published on the number of Coronavirus business support fund grants awarded and the value of these awards.

The UK Government has announced that plans to scrap VAT on e-publications have been fast-tracked and will now come into force tomorrow.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

27.04.2020

Chancellor Announces Small Firms To Get 100%-Taxpayer-Backed Loans

Small firms are to get access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans after they raised concerns about slow access to existing coronavirus rescue schemes.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons the scheme would start next week, offering firms loans up to £50,000 within days of applying.

It aims to unlock a backlog of credit checks by banks amid fears many small firms could fold before getting loans. The scheme requires filling in a two-page self-certification form online.

The loan terms mean that no capital or interest repayments will be due for one year. Instead, the government will pay the interest for the first 12 months.

Banks have come under fire for delays in handing out loans, but have blamed the heavy workload, need to complete the necessary credit checks, and a shortage of staff.

Mr Sunak told the Commons that the government was not prepared to underwrite 100% of loans as it needed to balance the risk to the taxpayer with the needs of small businesses.

Earlier this month the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, said that slow bank emergency lending "had to be sorted out" and that taking on all the risk from banks could "unblock" the schemes for small business especially.

Unlike the existing loan scheme, banks will not retain any of the risk for these loans, which could stretch into the billions or tens of billions depending on how long the crisis lasts.

READ MORE

Coronavirus: High Street Shops Preparing Ways to Reopen

Trade figures have issued new social distancing guidelines for shops to prepare for any easing of the lockdown.

The British Retail Consortium and Usdaw's advice includes providing hand sanitiser for customers.

Helen Dickinson, the BRC's boss, said: "The safety and wellbeing of retail colleagues and customers remains the highest priority."

The industry body and the union issued the advice to non-food retailers, closely based on what is already happening in many food stores. Some suggestions include:

  • limiting the number of people in-store at any one time
  • encouraging customers to shop alone where possible
  • scheduling deliveries to avoid crowding
  • cleaning door handles, lift buttons and hand rails regularly
  • using floor markings to remind customers to maintain a distance of 2m

Shops that were deemed "non-essential" have been shut since the government set out strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus on 23 March.

Those allowed to trade under lockdown include supermarkets, pharmacies, newsagents and post offices.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said that "Non-food retail should only start trading again when expert public health advice agrees.

"However, we need to be ready and we need to make sure that the proper preparations and measures are put in place."

Companies that had temporarily shut stores are starting to reopen amid lockdown measures, after introducing new social distancing controls.

Social Distancing in Retail Stores and Warehouses

COVID-19: A FRAMEWORK FOR DECISION MAKING 

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister said that a quarter of a million people had accessed the COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making document since it was published online yesterday and she encouraged people to continue to engage with the Scottish Government on the issue.

Perthshire Chamber Business Guide for Covid-19 - Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme​ (CBILS) (Updated 09.04.2020)

 

Perthshire Chamber Business Guide for Covid-19 - Employment Support for Businesses

 

Perthshire Chamber Business Guide for Covid-19 - Financial Support Schemes (Updated 27.03.2020)

Please click on the image below to see the Perthshire Chamber Business Guide for Covid-19.  This details the financial support schemes available for businesses including the Job Retention Scheme and the CBILS Scheme.

Coronavirus Business Support fund

Applications through the Perth and Kinross Council website here.

HMRC Helpline for Tax Issues

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559

Business Helpline

A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

The helpline is 0300 303 0660, and will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm.

PKC Line for Grant Help

 

BANK OF BUSINESS SUPPORT MATERIALS FROM PCC BUSINESS SUPPORT EVENTS

Please feel free to use and share these online resources (more to be found under B2B Support During COVID-19 page here.

We held an online session on Wedneday 8th of April with Chris Allan, Corporate Partner, Debbie Fellows, Employment Partner at Thorntons along with Business Advisory Partner at Johnston Carmichael, Ryan Diplexcito, and they have kindly provided their slides which can be accessed here as a PDF.  This session covered key issues around the Job Retention Scheme and Business Interruption Loan and offers practical business options available during the current COVID-19 situation.  These can be accessed by clicking on the relevant image below.

 

Marketing in Challenging Times

Our Marketing in Challenging Times session took place with Limetree Consultancy and Eileen Cooper has kindly shared her slides with us as a PDF.  

 

Cashflow Forecasting

Our Cashflow Forecasting session took place with Johnston Carmichael and they have kindly shared their slides with us as a PDF.  They also shared a simple Cash Flow spreadsheet (with disclaimer) which can be accessed here. 

 

Resilience

Our Resilience session took place with Blackadders and they have kindly shared their slides with us as a PDF which can be accessed here. 

 

Communication, Influence & Persuasion in Business

Our Resilience session took place with Sandy McCurdy of Sales Coach Scotland and he has kindly shared his slides with us as a PDF which can be accessed here. 

 

DAILY UPDATES

29.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on the weekly NRS statistics. You can read the First Minister’s speech here.     

Figures on economic growth and retail sales have also been published today.

The Scottish Government is to convene regular meetings of the Strategic Leadership Group on Oil and Gas and Energy Transition with a renewed focus to work in partnership with the industry to identify actions to support the sector and its workforce during these unprecedented times, the group will be chaired by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

The Home Secretary has announced visa extensions for frontline health and social care workers and the UK Health Secretary has confirmed a national clinical trial initiative which will accelerate the development of new drugs for Covid-19.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

28.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister provided an update on testing capacity, which has increased from an initial starting capacity of 350 tests a day to at least 3,500 a day by the end of this month. She confirmed further expansion which will see all NHS boards asked to put in place procedures to test all those over 70 years of age who are admitted to hospital for any reason - not just Covid symptoms.

She also spoke about newly published guidance around face coverings.

You can read the First Minister’s statement here.

More than 50 Scottish research projects to tackle the virus and its impact will benefit from almost £5 million of Scottish Government funding.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

27.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister issued a reminder that businesses required to close by law should remain closed.  Any business not in that category which closed voluntarily and is now thinking of reopening, should only do so if they can comply fully with existing guidance and can change working practices to ensure safe physical distancing.

She added that tomorrow is International Workers' Memorial Day, when the Scottish Government will join a minute's silence at 11am to honour frontline workers who have lost their lives during the pandemic.

You can watch the First Minister’s statement here.

The UK Government has announced a new finance scheme providing loans for small businesses with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.  The Bounce Back Loans scheme will provide loans of up to £50,000. Full details available here.

Skills Development Scotland has launched an online portal where workers who have been furloughed, made redundant or want to learn new skills can access thousands of free learning opportunities.

In the next week everyone in Scotland will receive a letter from the Scottish Government explaining where to look for advice and support during the coronavirus outbreak.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

25.04.04

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today, new guidance has been published on access to COVID-19 testing in Scotland.  The full details are available at the links below.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-access-to-testing/

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-key-workers-in-Scotland/

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

24.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister said that a quarter of a million people had accessed the COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making document since it was published online yesterday and she encouraged people to continue to engage with the Scottish Government on the issue.

The First Minister also confirmed that a second flight carrying PPE had landed at Prestwick Airport and she thanked more than 1,600 companies who have offered support and who are diversifying to help meet the need for medical equipment and products. Read more here.

You can watch the First Minister’s speech here.

A national campaign is being launched to encourage people to seek medical help for urgent health issues not related to coronavirus.

The UK Government has announced a £17 million package to protect ferry freight routes, as well as confirming that furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings, rather than a furloughed pay rate.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

23.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

As detailed earlier today, the Scottish Government has published COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making.

The publication was the main focus of today’s media briefing, where the First Minister said it should be seen as the start of a “grown-up conversation” and urged people across Scotland to engage with the Government as key decisions are taken.

You can watch the briefing here.

Elsewhere today, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes responded to the Scottish Fiscal Commission’s update on the Scottish Budget, following Covid-19 and the Scottish Government’s Economic Recovery Advisory Group held its first introductory meeting.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

22.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Earlier today, the First Minister gave an update on Covid-19 statistics from the National Records of Scotland. The figures showed that the total number of deaths in Scotland linked to coronavirus has risen to 1,616. A third of the deaths were recorded in care homes.

The First Minister outlined the measures that have been put in place to protect residents and staff in care homes.  You can see read the First Minister’s full statement here.

In wider news, a new campaign is underway to direct parents to sources of help and information.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

21.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

This afternoon, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop made a statement to Parliament in which she confirmed the breakdown of the £100 million fund announced last week to support SMEs and the newly self-employed:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
  • £20 million 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.
  • £45 million 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 £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not for profit sector.

The grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April and recipients will receive funds in early May.  Full details are available here.

Ms Hyslop also confirmed further membership of the Economic Recovery Advisory Group announced last week, to be led by Benny Higgins:

  • Dame Sue Bruce, (non-executive director with Scottish and Southern Energy)
  • Professor Anna Vignoles (Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Dieter Helm (Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford)
  • Grahame Smith (outgoing General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress)
  • Professor John Kay (Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics)

Ms Hyslop’s full speech is available here.

Earlier, at today’s media briefing, the First Minister was joined by the Scottish Government’s Chief Economist, Gary Gillespie, to address the latest State of the Economy report which estimates that Scotland's economic output could fall by a third during the period of social distancing, broadly in line with last week's projections for the UK as a whole from the OBR.

The impact of the pandemic on household finances has been highlighted by an increase in Universal Credit claims. The Scottish Government, in partnership with the Citizens Advice network, is launching a new campaign to raise awareness of the financial support available.

You can watch the First Minister’s statement here.

For awareness, some amendments have been made to the guidance on social distancing.  Details are available here.

The latest labour market statistics, which predate social distancing measures, were published earlier.  Further information is available at Scottish breakdown of labour market statistics. 

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

20.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister announced that new guidance to support the home learning of children and young people during the new term has been issued, and that more community food projects will receive funding to provide emergency free meals to those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can read the First Minister’s speech here.

The Scottish Government has called on the UK Government to ask the EU for the maximum two-year extension to the Brexit transition period.

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open for applications and employers can apply for grants through the HMRC’s online portal.  The scheme allows employers to claim for up to 80% of a furloughed employee’s wages, capped at £2,500 a month.  A one month extension was announced last week and it will now be open until the end of June, to reflect continuing lockdown measures.

The Chancellor has announced a new £1.25 billion coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in UK.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

16.04.2020

Scottish Chambers of Commerce Newsletter

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister confirmed that the lockdown will remain in place for at least three more weeks and warned that lifting restrictions now would risk a resurgence of the virus which could result in the NHS being overwhelmed.

She acknowledged that there would be difficult consequences as a result of this and said that the Scottish Government would set-out more detail, in the coming days, about the framework that will be used inform any relaxation of the restrictions in future.

You can read the First Minister’s speech here.

Earlier, during virtual First Minister’s Questions, the First Minister updated party leaders on testing capacity, telling them that Scotland is on track to reach 3,500 tests per day by the end of this month. She added that more than 12,000 health or care workers, or where appropriate their families, have now been tested for Covid-19.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

15.04.2020

Scottish Chambers of Commerce Newsletter

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

  • At today’s media briefing, the First Minister said that the Scottish Government will now move to test all symptomatic patients in care homes for COVID-19.  Updated figures from National Records of Scotland showed that a quarter of Scottish coronavirus deaths have been in care homes. 

You can watch the briefing here.

As detailed this morning, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced that further grants in the region of £220m are being made available for businesses - including the recently self-employed - to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new package of measures includes £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.  Further details are available here.

Separately, support has also been announced for aquaculture businesses threatened by the effects of COVID-19.

The UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is set to open for applications on Monday 20 April. The scheme provides a grant to cover 80% of a worker’s usual monthly wage costs and is applicable to workers who are shielding as well as those with caring responsibilities. The guidance has also been updated so that workers who have been on a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19th March are eligible to be furloughed.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

14.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

There was no update yesterday due to the bank holiday and no significant economy announcements being made.  However, at the First Minister’s briefing yesterday it was announced that people were being asked not to delay the funeral of a loved one in anticipation of social distancing measures being lifted, as it could increase strain on funeral and mortuary services responding to coronavirus.   

Communities and Local Government Secretary, Aileen Campbell also announced a new national helpline is being set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support but who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 and third sector organisations across Scotland are being encouraged to apply for emergency funding to help cope with the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

At today’s briefing, the First Minister announced additional support worth more than £1 million to help people look after their mental health and wellbeing during and after the pandemic.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Elsewhere, reassurance has been given to prospective university and college students that they will receive their results on time, and qualifications will be assessed as part of the admissions process.

And a discussion paper has been published, setting out potential options for progressing serious criminal cases during the outbreak and in its aftermath.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

11.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today it was announced that coastal businesses and third sector organisations affected by COVID-19 can now benefit from a £7.2 million Scottish Crown Estate fund which is devolved to councils.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has written to the UK Government calling for greater support for farming sectors under pressure due to the impacts of Covid-19.

And dedicated phone lines have been launched to provide advice and support for people at higher risk from Covid-19 who have been told to self-isolate.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

10.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister urged people to keep following social distancing guidance over the Easter weekend.

She was joined by the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Iain Livingstone who confirmed that over 500 fixed penalty notices have now been issued across Scotland.

The First Minister gave an update on the expansion of NHS capacity, ahead of a visit to the NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow which is on track to be operational by mid-April.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Elsewhere, the Public Finance Minister has written to business leaders to promote new measures to help businesses introduced in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

09.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

Today’s media briefing was replaced by a virtual First Minister’s Questions.  During this, the First Minister referred to an agreement reached between the Scottish Government, COSLA and unions on comprehensive guidance for the use of PPE in the context of Covid-19.

In wider developments, two Scottish firms are playing their part in the manufacture of ventilators for the NHS and a skills matching service has been launched to pair-up rural businesses with potential employees.

The UK Chancellor has outlined temporary changes to the Statutory Residence Test for people coming to the country to work on Covid-19 related activity.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

08.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister addressed concerns raised by a range of medics about PPE. She said that discussions are being held with the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nurses, and with COSLA and trade unions to seek to resolve concerns expressed by those working in the care sector.

The First Minister announced that a £5 million fund will be made available for students experiencing hardship. Students can apply directly to universities and colleges for assistance.

You can watch the full briefing here

Payments worth £19.1 million have been made to almost 6,000 farmers and crofters in Scotland’s most remote and rural areas from the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

Guidance for businesses looking to offer support for the ongoing effort to tackle the Covid-19 emergency can be found here.

 

07.04.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

 

06.04.2020

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

At today’s briefing, the First Minister gave an update on testing capacity, which has been quadrupled to allow around 2,000 tests to be carried out per day, with testing starting to be made available to key workers.

She announced that £8 million is being provided to help third sector organisations support some of those worst affected by the outbreak and that funding of £166,000 will provide support for people affected by alcohol and drug use during the pandemic.

The First Minister also confirmed that Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith has agreed to act as interim Chief Medical Officer following the resignation of Dr Catherine Calderwood.

You can watch the First Minister’s full update here.

Further guidance for the construction industry has been issued this afternoon, developed with Construction Scotland and trade unions.  It says that work on construction sites, unless it is for essential projects, should stop immediately.  The full guidance is available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-construction-sector-guidance/

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

04.04.2020

Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland, updated

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

Today, social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland has been updated to help provide clarity on protecting employees in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).  Further information is available here.  The full guidance is published at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-and-social-distancing-guidance/

It was confirmed earlier today that 7,000 specialist beef producers will benefit from payments worth around £40 million in the coming weeks.  Details here.

A new telephone hotline is up and running to support residents of Scotland returning on FCO repatriation flights get home as quickly as possible. There is more information at +44(0)1414651878  or  http://travelinescotland.com/repatriation

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

03.04.2020

First Minister gave a further update on testing for key workers and confirmed that learning and childcare will still b available

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of COVID-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave a further update on testing for key workers and confirmed that learning and childcare will continue to be available in every local authority area for key workers during what would have been a holiday period.

You can watch the First Minister’s update here.

£10 million of financial support is being made available to seafood processors help them through economic pressures related to COVID-19.

People in Scotland at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will begin to receive home deliveries of essential groceries from today.

Last night, the UK Government announced changes to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme as well as a new scheme for larger companies.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

02.04.2020

Chancellor Strengthens Support on Offer For Business as First Government-Backed Loans Reach Firms In Need

  • £90 million of business interruption loans approved for nearly 1,000 firms and £1.9 billion corporate finance provided to firms hit by COVID-19
  • Current loan scheme extended so more small businesses can benefit
  • Lenders banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000
  • New scheme announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans
  • Chancellor emphasises importance of banks moving quickly to support the economy, jobs and businesses

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is today (Friday 3 April) taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.

More than £90 million of loans to nearly 1,000 small and medium sized firms have been approved under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) since its launch last week.  And a government-backed scheme to provide financing to larger companies, being operated by the Bank of England, has also provided almost £1.9 billion of support to firms and a further £1.6 billion has been committed. 

To maximise the support available, the Chancellor is extending the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. This will give banks the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not lend to without CLBILS. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced later this month.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, said:

“We are making great progress on getting much-needed support out to businesses to help manage their cashflows during this difficult time – with millions of pounds of loans and finance being provided to hundreds of firms across the country.

“And now I am taking further action by extending our generous loan scheme so even more businesses can benefit. We have also listened to the concerns of some larger businesses affected by COVID-19 and are announcing new support so they can benefit too.

“This is a national effort and we’ll continue to work with the financial services sector to ensure that the £330 billion of government support, through loans and guarantees, reaches as many businesses in need as possible.”

The Chancellor will be speaking to bank Chief Executives next week to discuss how the schemes are working and ensure everybody is playing their part.

There have now been over 130,000 enquiries from businesses across the country for business interruption loans, according to latest figures from UK Finance. Some 983 businesses have had finance approved, while banks are processing thousands of loan applications – and scheme changes made today will help them approve loans for the smallest businesses as quickly as possible.

The first firms to receive business interruption loans included Hartlepool-based H.T.E.S (Northern), which provides training and assessment services to the engineering, petrochemical and construction sectors. This company received a £60,000 loan backed by the scheme, enabling it to continue to operate, even though sales have dropped by 75%.

On the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of further financial support for Scottish business affected by Covid-19, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“This is a much needed boost to the financial package available to Scottish businesses. We asked the Chancellor for a rethink to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and he has listened.

“There were gaps, particularly for small and medium-sized companies in the original package. Our message remains the same: Get the cash out the door fast – businesses cannot afford to wait if we are to survive. This is about saving jobs and the livelihoods of millions of employees across all sectors throughout Scotland.”

Read More

 

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

At today’s media briefing, the First Minister gave an update on the Scottish Government’s approach to testing key workers and how capacity can be increased.   She also said that Health Protection Scotland are due to publish updated guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical staff and how it should be used at this stage in the outbreak.  Full details are available here

The First Minister’s speech is available in full here

It was confirmed last night that the COP26 UN climate change conference that was set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed due to COVID-19. 

Advice on support packages available for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

 

01.04.2020

Furlough Staff - Q&A

1: Can all staff be put on furlough?
There are exceptions, but generally speaking they can, providing they were on payroll by 28 February 2020. Furloughed employees can include full-time; part-time; employees on agency contracts (providing they are not working); and employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts. The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, providing they have subsequently been rehired by their employer. To be eligible for the JRS subsidy, employers should write to their employees confirming that they have been furloughed, and keep a record of this communication.

 

2: What are the exceptions?
The guidance makes clear that the JRS is for those not working, so employees working reduced hours or on reduced pay cannot benefit from the scheme. Employees hired after 28 February 2020 also cannot be furloughed, or claimed for in accordance with this scheme. The same applies to all employees on unpaid leave, unless they were placed on it after 28 February 2020. 

Employees on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of the Coronavirus are entitled to statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week from the first day they are off work. They will need to provide an isolation note from the NHS, which can be obtained here. Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to reclaim up to two weeks statutory sick pay (SSP) paid to employees for absence related to coronavirus. This applies to all companies that had fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020. Once an employee is no longer on sick leave, they are can also be furloughed.

 

3: How far back can the furlough claim be backdated?
The scheme is open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020, with the guidance stating: “claims can be backdated until the 1 March if applicable”.

 

4: Can staff continue to accrue holiday pay while on furlough?
There is no mention of this within the JRS guidance, and the details regarding the matter are still being ironed out by HMRC and will be addressed through updated guidance that’s due to be released soon.

However, according to employment law specialists Lewis Silkin, employees should continue to accrue holiday allowance while they are furloughed because they remain employed. In an analysis of the JRS, partners Lucy Lewis and Richard Moore write: “You could agree that no contractual holiday (beyond the statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks per year) will accrue during furlough, but employees will retain their right to accrue annual leave under the Working Time Regulations.”

While this is technically correct, the notion of staff accruing holiday pay while on furlough amid the current crisis is not one likely to be encouraged. Government guidance says: "Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement."

Given the circumstances, however, holiday pay should not be a priority issue for businesses and furloughed staff should be made aware of this. London Union's Jonathan Downey's approach is to be clear with staff from the outset.

He says he is asking furloughed staff to agree to three things: to being out on furlough; that, during the furlough period they will not accrue holiday pay; and that during the period any accrued holiday pay will run down to zero. "Anyone not agreeing to these terms doesn’t go on furlough," he says.

 

5: If an employee has more than one job, can they still be furloughed?
Employees that have more than one employer can be furloughed individually for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually. If you’re put on furlough by more than one employer, you’ll receive separate payments from each employer. The 80% of your normal wage up to a £2,500 monthly cap applies to each job.

 

6: Can furloughed employees continue to work elsewhere?
While it is not directly addressed in the Government guidance, HMRC has confirmed that yes, employees can work for another employer while on furlough, providing their contract allows it. It is, however, noted in the guidance that with regards to agency workers, the JRS is only for employees on agency contracts who are not working.

 

7: How is the amount a business can claim per employee calculated?
Employers can claim a grant through HMRC to cover 80% of an employee’s regular wage up to £2,500 per month, and must pay this to their employees at the minimum. An employer can also choose to top up an employee’s salary beyond this, but is not obliged to do so under this scheme. 

For full time and part time salaried employees, employers should use the actual salary before tax, as of 28 February 2020, to calculate the 80%. However, fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.

For those whose pay varies, but have been employed by a business for at least a year prior to the claim, the employer can claim for the higher of either the same month’s earning from the previous year; or the average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year. If the employee has been employed for less than a year, employers can claim for an average of the employee’s monthly earnings since they started work.

The guidance also states: “If the employee only started in February 2020, use a pro-rata for their earnings so far to claim.”

 

8: What about Employer National Insurance and pension contributions?
According to the guidance: “All employers remain liable for associated Employer National Insurance contributions, and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on behalf of their furloughed employees.”

Employers will receive the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on the subsidised wages claimed through the JRS.

However, National Insurance contributions and automatic enrolment contribution on any additional top-up salary will not be funded through the scheme. Likewise, any voluntary automatic enrolment contributions above the minimum mandatory employer contribution of 3% of income will not be covered.

 

9: How can someone make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
Businesses will be able to claim through an online service that is expected to be available by the end of April.

To claim, you will need to provide:

  • Your ePAYE reference number;
  • The number of employees being furloughed;
  • The claim period (start and end date);
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of three weeks);
  • Your bank account number and sort code;
  • Your contact name;
  • Your phone number; and
  • You will also need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.

 

10: What happens after the claim is made?
The guidance states:

“Once HMRC have received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will pay it via BACS payment to a UK bank account. You should make your claim in accordance with actual payroll amounts at the point at which you run your payroll or in advance of an imminent payroll.”

To read the full Government guidance regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, click below.

Read More >

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further guidance has now been released at the below link.

If any chamber members have experienced problems with the CBILS scheme which is not in line with the guidelines and policies, please contact Perthshire Chamber so we can raise directly with the UK Government.

Read More

 

Scottish Parliament Inquiry into COVID-19 – Impact On Scotland’s Businesses, Workers And Economy

Guidance has been published on the UK’s application of disaster relief to cover relevant imports of medical supplies and similar to combat Coronavirus.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urgently working on guidance to address other easements and support for businesses.

SCC will share further updates as and when they are available.

Read More

 

Customs Disaster Relief

Guidance has been published on the UK’s application of disaster relief to cover relevant imports of medical supplies and similar to combat Coronavirus.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urgently working on guidance to address other easements and support for businesses.

SCC will share further updates as and when they are available.

Read More

 

Support From The Small Business Commissioner

The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) may be able to assist your small business members during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) is an independent public body set up by Government under the Enterprise Act 2016 to tackle late payment and unfavourable payment practices in the private sector. The SBC covers the whole of the UK - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Please see the below link for more details and further information which may be of use to businesses in the current climate.

Read More

 

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

In the last half hour, MSPs have unanimously passed the Coronavirus Bill which will result in new powers and measures being put in place to help protect the public, maintain essential public services and support the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The First Minister updated Parliament earlier on NHS capacity, telling MSPs that Coronavirus testing for key workers is expanding, with a target of 3500 tests being carried out each day by the end of April. Additionally more than 200 anaesthetic machines have been adapted to boost ventilator capacity.

On the economy, £950 million is being given to local authorities so that they can begin to issue payments next week to businesses who have applied for grants as part of the £2.2 billion support package that has been put in place to help deal with the economic impact of Coronavirus.

The First Minister’s statement to Parliament is available in full here.

As a result of the virus, the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan has been delayed and the difficult decision has been taken to halt the introduction of disability benefits that were due to be delivered by the Scottish Government this year.  Instead, these will continue to be issued by the UK Government.

This year’s Edinburgh Festivals have also been cancelled.

Advice on support packages available for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

 

31.03.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of COVID-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and share with your networks where appropriate.

At her regular media briefing, the First Minister updated journalists on the emergency legislation published today.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill focuses on three headline areas, making:

  • adjustments to the justice system, including criminal procedures to ensure essential justice business continues
  • a range of provisions designed to ensure businesses, consumers and public services continue to operate effectively
  • adjustments to the law on evictions to protect those renting their homes in the private and social sector

The legislation, which will be scrutinised and debated by MSPs tomorrow, will not remain in force for any longer than is needed.

The First Minister announced that more than £1.5 million from the £350 million Communities Fund is being allocated to Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland.

And she reiterated last night’s announcement that local authorities will no longer be legally obliged to deliver 1140 hours of funded childcare from this August, allowing them to focus on the pandemic response.

You can watch the First Minister’s update here.

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Advice for businesses and their employees is available at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

 

Coronavirus: Advice For Farmers And Growers

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain to help the industry succeed in a rapidly changing world. 

We are all living in the most extraordinary of times. The speed of change is breath taking, and to take the right decisions for our businesses and our families relies on having good access to relevant information.

Supporting the industry remains a priority for AHDB. We realise some businesses are in crisis, while others are having to significantly change the way they work or the markets they supply.

To bring all the latest advice together in one place, we have created specific coronavirus-related pages here on our website where you can access the latest Government advice for employers and employees, links to other industry organisations, frequently asked questions and a wealth of tools and business information.

Read More >

 

Support for Directors

Further guidance has now been received from HM Treasury regarding Company Directors.

Company directors have statutory duties that they must perform under company law, for example ensuring the company is in a position to file returns on time.

The performance of directors’ statutory and administrative responsibilities should not impinge on their ability to furlough themselves as employees for the purposes of this scheme, as long as they do no work beyond this. They must also meet the other scheme criteria, for example receiving a salary through PAYE.

Directors are eligible for the Job Retention Scheme, providing they are doing no work beyond their statutory and administrative responsibilities, and that they meet the other scheme criteria.

 

26.03.2020

Announcement From Chancellor Regarding Self-Employed

The money will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.

Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.

Mr Sunak said the grants would be available to people across the UK for at least three months, and longer if necessary.

The scheme does not cover people who only became self-employed very recently - they will have to look to the benefits system for support.

But in all, the chancellor said 95% of people who earn most of their income via self-employment would be covered.

A more detailed overview of the support announced will follow, but below is a snap-shot of the measures announced this evening for the new 'Self Employed - Income Support Scheme':

  • Taxable Grant of 80% of average earnings over last 3 years up to a maximum of £2,500 and up to trading profits of £50,000;
  • The fund will be open for 3 months but will extend if necessary;
  • Available for those with a tax return to end 2019;
  • Businesses can claim these grants as well as continue to carry out business;
  • It is not available until the beginning of June 2020 but will be backdated;
  • HMRC will contact direct and businesses to complete a simple form;
  • Those that haven't filed a self assessment form will be given an additional 4 weeks from today to complete their Tax Return from January 2020; and
  • Those that have not filed a tax return can apply for Business Interruption Loans.

 

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SUPPORT ANNOUNCED

Information has come through on support for social enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis. Please share with any social enterprises/networks you have looking for information about funding and/or advice available. Thanks

The Third Sector Resilience Fund has now been launched as part of the £350 million support package announced by the Scottish Government. This Fund will support organisations across the third sector who are at risk of closure due to disruption caused by COVID-19. The primary intention of the fund is to help these organisations to stabilise and manage cashflows over this difficult period.

The Fund, delivered by SIS, Firstport and Corra Foundation, will provide grants between £5,000 and £100,000, as well as fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. Learn more and apply through the SCVO website here.

SCVO's Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub is an important information source to understand support and funding options, as this is continually being updated. Find the Hub here.

 

25.03.2020

Latest Scottish Government guidance here, on business and social distancing.

The first half of the document is advisory while the second lists the closures which will be enforced.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-and-social-distancing-guidance/

 

24.03.2020

Daily Evening Update from Scottish Government Bulletin

As the Scottish Government’s focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 continues, we will be providing regular bulletins to signpost you to the latest sources of information. We hope that you will find this useful and will share with your networks where appropriate.

The First Minister addressed the Scottish Parliament today where she announced that the £1 billion business support fund is now open for applications.  Further details are available here

She also gave further advice on the closing of business premises. Please see here.

The Economy Secretary and The Finance Secretary have called for better support for those who are self-employed.

A new campaign is underway to encourage people to be responsible about how much food they are buying and how often.

This is a fast-moving situation and information is being updated regularly.

Guidance on childcare provision for key workers is available here.

Advice on support packages available for business and their employees is at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

There is an HMRC helpline for tax issues at 0800 015 9559

NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information.

 

PARTNER SUPPORT PAGES

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network has a dedicated Hub HERE which will be updated daily and we will keep you informed of these updates on our page too and via social media.

 

Perth and Kinross Council

Coronavirus - Support for Business here: https://www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirus/business

 

Scottish Government

https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

UK Government

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

 

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