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Coronavirus Update: 10 March

Last week’s budget had some welcome news on funding scheme extensions and other support, along with some expected but perhaps not so welcome news. If you’re unsure how any of the announcements affects you, or would like some help in applying for funding, do get in touch.

Here’s some relevant announcements, plus more news from elsewhere:

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: The fourth instalment of this grant covers the 3-month period from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021 and the online claims service will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date.

The UK government has also announced that there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September 2021. You will be able to claim from late July if you are eligible for the fifth grant. The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021: 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduced by 30% or more; 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduced by less than 30%. Find out more here.

Temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and hotel accommodation and attractions: The UK Government is allowing VAT-registered businesses to apply a temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% to certain supplies relating to: hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate of 5% has been extended, and will now apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022, a VAT rate of 12.5% will apply. Find out more here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: This scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. If your business has closed or is struggling due to the pandemic, you can apply to furlough employees (put them on temporary leave) rather than make them redundant. Once furloughed, the UK Government will provide a grant to cover 80% of the wages of these employees up to a maximum of £2,500 a month until the end of June 2021. From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. Find out more here.

Recovery Loan Scheme: The scheme ensures that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. The UK Government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender to give them the confidence to lend to businesses. The scheme launches on 6 April 2021. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. Find out more here.

Campervan and Motorhome Rental Operators Fund: The purpose of this fund is to support the financial continuity of eligible campervan and motorhome rental businesses while COVID-19 restrictions on opening and travel are still in place, and to support them to prepare for accepting visitors later in 2021, when it is hoped restrictions will be lifted. This fund is not yet open for applications - guidance is available now. Applications will be accepted between Thursday 11 March and Thursday 18 March 2021. Find out more here.

Think Rural, Think Digital, Think Ahead! Event: This event will be held over 19-21 March and will engage young people from across Scotland, Coastal Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Maine and Ontario. Those from a variety of backgrounds such as coding, design, marketing, health and social care or tourism and hospitality are all encouraged to sign-up, with the aim to develop joint solutions to shared challenges. Find out more here.

Support for Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Fund: The Support for Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Fund (SAP-CTF) is to support small accommodation providers in Scotland that pay council tax, including B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering properties, and which have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Applications will open for new entrants to the fund on 15 March 2021 and will close to applications on 22 March. Find out more here.

Adapt & Thrive Update: Adapt & Thrive offers a combination of advice and funding to support organisations to reflect on their current services and determine which areas need to change, flex, innovate or grow to be resilient and successful during and post COVID-19. The Scottish Government has now confirmed additional investment for the Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme, which will allow Adapt and Thrive to continue to support the sector until the end of June 2021. Find out more here.

Women in the Rural Economy Training Fund: Alongside the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund, this fund has been created to give women in Rural Scotland more opportunities for land-based and aquaculture training. Open to any woman resident in Scotland who is either already working in or studying in the sector, full-time or part-time, or who is keen to start work in this area, who can demonstrate how the training course will support the development of their business or employment options. Find out more here.

Introducing Transform Net-Zero Project Event: This event will introduce the 2 year Scottish Enterprise funded project, Transform Net-Zero. Using Abertay's leading Food Innovation, Environment and Computer Games expertise to stimulate and improve SMEs innovation, preparing for new market opportunities towards net-zero. Takes place on Wed, 17 March 10:00. Find out more and book here.

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