COVID-19 - Support for Local Businesses

We recognise that these are extremely challenging times for many local businesses and we want to assure industries of all sizes that, along with our partners, we will do everything we can to help during this unprecedented public health crisis.

We know our support to you is critical and we are working with other local and national organisations including the new South of Scotland Enterprise agency to prepare guidance, advice and tailor our support.

What is happening right now?

Government funding and relief for small and medium businesses will be available from 1 April and our Council will be distributing this as quickly as possible. We continue to carry out a great deal of work behind the scenes in readiness for this as we appreciate that this support will need to be directed to businesses urgently.

Our message to you at this moment is to please continue to get in touch as soon as possible so that we can help and support you through this difficult time - but we need to know what you require so that, with our partners, we can consider how we might supplement the Government scheme which is available. You can find out more below.

How to contact us

Non Domestic rates

For specific advice on Non Domestic Rates reliefs:

Be Scam Aware

Businesses are particularly vulnerable to scams during this difficult period. Common scams to watch out for include emails and phone calls from people claiming to be from HMRC. Guidance published from HMRC gives advice on what to look for and how to report a scam. Do not give your bank account details to anyone unless you are certain of who they are. If you are suspicious of a scam then please let us know by contacting  


Further information

We recognise that that these are difficult times for you and your business and we want to reassure you that the Council is here to support you.

Financial Wellbeing and Revenues staff are working over the weekends to process Scottish Welfare Fund and Council Tax Reduction applications.  This is to ensure we get vital support to those in need.  Customers may receive calls from the team out-with normal office hours.

We've put together the following information about the range of support announced for business, their employees and the self employed by the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Council in the face of the coronavirus. As you'll be only too aware, this is a rapidly changing situation so we'll be updating this page with new information as it becomes available to us.

Wage Support

The UK Government has announced Job retention support and the deferral of VAT and Income Tax payments.  HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month until the end of May 2020.  HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement as existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

VAT Deferral

VAT payments have been deferred for three months from 20 March until 30 June 2020 and no VAT payments are needed during this period. VAT liabilities accrued during the deferral period can be paid at any time until 5 April 2021 to pay any VAT liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

This is an automatic support and businesses do not need to apply.

Sick Pay

Small-and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. They will be able to reclaim 2 weeks' SSP per eligible employee. There will be no need to provide a Fit Note but employers need to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.

This support requires legislation to enable it so no details on how it will operate are available.

Business Rates and Associated Grants

The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates reliefs (discounts) alongside a business grants scheme based on rateable values and rateable occupation. These grants will be paid through the Council using a new grant application process.

Please note that Business Grant applications cannot be submitted via Adobe Document Cloud. If you submitted your grant application through this channel can you please resend it directly to We thank you for your help with this.

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to assist you with the grant application process:

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be able to apply for a one off £25,000 grant if they were operating in premises with a rateable value of £18,001 or up to £50,999. This is the rateable value as at 17 March regardless of subsequent reductions in rateable value due to an appeal. This will only be available if they were the ratepayer for a premise's occupied for that business use on 17 March 2020. The following premises that meet the above criteria may be eligible:

  • Amusements
  • Animal Welfare
  • Arts Centre
  • Auction Mart
  • Bakery
  • Bed & Breakfast Accommodation
  • Bingo Hall
  • Bowling Alley
  • Bowling Club
  • Cafe
  • Camping Site
  • Car Wash
  • Caravan
  • Caravan Site
  • Chalet
  • Cinema
  • Clinic
  • Club
  • Cricket Club
  • Depot
  • Entertainment Centre
  • Exhibition Venue
  • Football Ground
  • Funeral Parlour
  • Gallery
  • Garden
  • Garden Centre
  • Golf Club
  • Golf Driving Range
  • Guest House
  • Hll
  • Harbour
  • Hostel
  • Hotel
  • Ice Rink
  • Kiosk
  • Laundry
  • Leisure Centre
  • Market
  • Military Facility
  • Museum
  • Office
  • Outdoor Centre
  • Park
  • Petrol Filling Station
  • Play Centre
  • Playing Field
  • Post Office
  • Public House
  • Race Track
  • Racecourse
  • Recreation Ground
  • Restaurant
  • Retail Warehouse
  • Riding School
  • Sailing Club
  • Self Catering with conditions
  • Shooting Range
  • Shop
  • Showhouse
  • Showroom
  • Ski Club
  • Snack Bar
  • Snooker Club
  • Sports Centre
  • Sports Ground
  • Squash Club
  • Stable
  • Stadium
  • Sui Generis
  • Swimming Pool
  • Tennis Club
  • Theatre
  • Visitor Centre
  • Warehouse
  • Workshop
  • Youth Hostel
  • Boathouse
  • Caravan
  • Self Catering
  • Site
  • Slipway
  • Stance
  • Time Share Units

Businesses operating in an eligible premises that was in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme and Rural Relief as at 17 March 2020, can apply for a one-off grant of £10,000. If you applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme you can also get this grant. The following property types have been excluded from eligibility for the £10,000 grant:

  • Advertising
  • Anemometer Mast
  • ATM Site
  • Boathouse
  • Bothy
  • Burial Ground
  • Cable
  • Car Park
  • Car Space
  • Castle
  • Common Room
  • Coup
  • Deer Forest
  • Display Area
  • Electricity
  • Fishing Hut
  • Fuel Tank
  • Gallop
  • Game Larder
  • Grazings
  • Ground
  • Hangar
  • Heliport
  • Holiday Hut
  • Hut
  • Jetty
  • Land
  • Lighthouse
  • Lock-Up
  • Mast
  • Monitoring Site
  • Oil Tank
  • Parking Bay
  • Peat Moss
  • Pier
  • Pigeon Loft
  • Public Toilet
  • Quarry
  • Sand & Gravel
  • Shootings
  • Site
  • Site Huts
  • Slipway
  • Stance
  • Taxi Rank
  • Telecommunications
  • Time Share Units
  • Traffic Monitoring
  • Waste
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Water
  • Weighbridge
  • Wind turbine
  • Yard

Further information on businesses that may qualify for these grants can be found of the Scottish Government website. (

The Scottish Government has now published guidance for the Covid-19 Grant Funding Schemes.  This can be found at the following link -

The Scottish Government has asked the Council to administer these grants. An application form to apply for these is available below.

With regard to the Business Rates Reliefs if you are entitled to these you do not need to do anything further as they will be applied automatically. We have delayed annual billing for the financial year 2020/21 until May 2020 to enable us to process all reliefs for those currently eligible. . We have also temporarily suspended any Business Rates recovery actions for arears in the current and past financial years.

We have set up a dedicated local help line and email address please contact these for further advice and assistance if required, the details are given below.

The Council has also take the decision to suspend Council Tax debt recovery over the coming weeks. If employers or their employees have had a drop in income that affects their ability to pay Council Tax they should also apply for Council Tax Reduction. An online application from can be found on the website


The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has opened for applications. It supports term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and more. It can provide facilities of up to £5 million for small businesses that are experiencing disruptions to their cashflow. the scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% of a loan and businesses will be able to secure 12 months interest free repayments.

In the meantime a number of you asked for more details on the expansion of the CBIL Scheme and how people in your area can apply. The expanded scheme will be operational with lenders from Monday 6th April 2020. Further information is available here:

Self Employed

There is a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. GOV‌.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn't yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply.

Unfortunately, we are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.

HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for these details.

The government has also introduced the following help for the self-employed:


If businesses and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have existing outstanding tax liabilities, they are encouraged to contact HMRC on the dedicated helpline on 0800 015 9559 for people concerned about not being able to pay tax due to COVID-19.

Business Advice

The Business Gateway national website has links to a number of resources that may be useful at this time.

Our Business Gateway team are moving our face to face workshops to webinars in order to provide continued support. If you are already booked onto a workshop we will be in touch soon to advise you of the changes.

The Council's economic development and Business Gateway staff are currently available on 01387 260280 or you can email

Council Suppliers / Contractors - submitting invoices

In order to support our suppliers and contractors during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council has implemented . At the same time, the Council is encouraging suppliers and contractors to invoice or make interim invoice applications to Council more regularly to help cash flow.  We are also recommending that invoices should be sent to Council by email.

Other Support

We will be implementing Scottish Government advice about flexibility in the Planning system in relation to temporary food takeaway services and restrictions on delivery/operating hours in relation to food distribution.

Other local support for businesses is currently being developed and will be announced soon.

Job vacancies in the region

Information on current job vacancies from DG Tap (Total Access Point) is available on their website:

Page last updated: 07/04/2020
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