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Coronavirus Update: 24 March

After a weekend of lovely spring weather, we are halfway through a new week and many of us are feeling a bit brighter and renewed ourselves, with a clearer idea of when non-essential businesses can reopen. We’ve included a few main dates below, and a link to read in more detail, as well as your usual news and opportunities.

Timetable for Easing Restrictions: Last week more details were received on how and when the Government plans to lift the current coronavirus restrictions over the coming weeks and months: including extending the list of permitted retail and the resumption of non-essential click and collect services from the 5 of April, and a wider reopening, including for tourism accommodation, from the 26 April. See the full planned timetable here.

The Strategic Framework Business Fund: This fund closed to new applications on 22 March, and businesses already receiving it will get a final four-weekly payment through this Fund on that date, and on April 19 will automatically receive a combined final two week supplement and a one-off restart grant to help them re-open. All businesses currently in receipt of support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund will receive this final payment and Restart Grant. Find out more here.

Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund: If you are a licensed taxi or private hire driver experiencing financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £1,500. The closing date for this fund has been extended to 25 March 2021. Find out more here.

SME Brexit Support Fund: Smaller businesses can now apply for grants of up to £2,000 to assist with training or professional advice that will help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU. Find out more here.

Help to Grow: This Government programme has been designed to help small and medium sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits. There are two schemes within the programme: Management, a 12 week development programme for which a fee is charged, and Digital, which offers free online advice and discounts on approved software. Find out more here.

Edinburgh Local Community Grants: A scheme to help the development of projects, community activities and sustainable local action through funding and collaboration. Applications that will involve and benefit people living and/or working in the Edinburgh City Region (includes the City of Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian, Midlothian, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders) are welcomed. Find out more here.

SEISS Grant Update: The newly self-employed can claim the fourth SEISS grant if they submitted their 2019/20 tax return by midnight on 2 March 2021, however additional evidence of identity and verification may be required. Find out more here.

VAT Deferral: If you deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can either: pay the deferred VAT in full, on or before 31 March 2021; join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23 February 2021 and 21 June 2021; contact HMRC on Telephone: 0800 024 1222 by 30 June 2021 if you need extra help to pay. Find out more here.

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