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Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

Advice for businesses

Information and advice for businesses from the UK Government, Scottish Government and other agencies is changing rapidly. You will find all the latest information on business support for COVID-19, on the Find Business Support website (please sign up for email updates) and the UK Government website

The UK Government has also introduced a business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

North Lanarkshire Council, on behalf of all Scottish councils is regularly updating a handy summary of all support for businesses in Scotland relating to COVID-19.

The Scottish Government published new guidance on 27 May for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work.

Guidance for the construction industry is expected soon.

This guidance was developed in consultation with business, trades unions and regulators. It will provide advice on essential equipment and services needed to create the conditions for safer workplaces.

Companies are expected to undertake a robust risk management approach that has been developed and maintained through joint working with employees. This will offer assurances to workers when the time is right to return to work.

Working to the phased approach in the recently published Scottish Government’s route map on easing lockdown, it details the steps required for businesses, acknowledging that some will face more complications when reopening than others, while also considering the impact on employees.

It is also acknowledged that the successful return to business will be highly dependent on positive customer behaviours. Therefore, customer guidance has been published and can also be used by retailers to inform their signage.

In addition, a joint statement by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Health and Safety Executive and local authorities has been issued on safe workplaces and the following guides from the Health and Safety Executive provide useful sources of information:

The guidance can be accessed at the following links:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): manufacturing sector guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for customers

COVID-19: Scotland’s route map for transitioning through and out of the crisis  

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer work places statement 

The main schemes of assistance are:

  • Coronavirus Business Support Fund
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • Coronavirus Newly Self-employed Hardship Fund - We expect this hardship fund to close soon, please apply as soon as possible

The aim of the Support Fund is to keep companies trading, and therefore to protect jobs, prevent business closures, and promote economic recovery. The rates relief and related grants are now available to eligible South Lanarkshire businesses, and are administered by South Lanarkshire Council on behalf of the Scottish Government and subject to the guidance they have put in place. Fuller national guidance on this fund is on the Scottish Government website.

Applications for this grant will be accepted up until 31 March 2021.

Two types of grant are available to businesses if you fit the criteria on 17 March 2020:

  • £10,000 grant to ratepayers of businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief. Business with a rateable value up to £18,000 are eligible. You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.
  • Retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £51,000 can apply for a one-off grant of £25,000. Eligible businesses for this grant now includes caravan and self-catering accommodation that are the primary income for the ratepayer and let out for 140 days or more in 2019-2020

Self-catering accommodation and caravans are now eligible for the one-off £10,000 grant for small businesses or the one-off £25,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors where it is demonstrated this is the primary source of earned income and the property is let for 140 days or more.

The Scottish Government announced on 15 April that it is extending this grant scheme. 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. Applications for properties that meet the new criteria can be made from 5 May 2020.

Shared office, business incubator and industrial unit spaces

From 8 June you can also apply for the Small Business Support Grant if your not a ratepayer but occupy certain types of shared space. For example shared office, business incubator or industrial space. You must lease the space from a landlord who is the registered ratepayer for the property. To be eligible for this phase of support you must also:

  • be a registered business or partnership
  • have a lease signed before 17 March 2020
  • employ at least one person
  • have a business bank account

For information on how to apply and advice for those who have already applied, see the SLC Coronavirus Business Support Fund page

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover 80% of the cost of wages up to £2,500 per month plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for all furloughed employees. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

This is a temporary scheme in place for four months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

This Scheme is available to all UK employers with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 19 March 2020 – this includes businesses, charities, recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE) and public authorities.

To access the scheme you must have:

  • Created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online 
  • a UK bank account

The important date for accessing the scheme is the date employees were furloughed. Furloughed workers is a new term which applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll. 

Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and were notified to HMRC on a Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020.

To be eligible for the grant, when on furlough, an employee cannot undertake work for, or on behalf, of the organisation or any linked or associated organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue. Employers are free to consider allocating any critical business tasks to staff that are not furloughed. While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.

Employers are being encouraged to consider re-employing anyone in their business that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020. If you can pay 80% (or up to 100%) of their wages and your intention is to furlough them, you will be able to recover up to 80% of their wages when the grant funding comes through. This could really make a difference to your employees, especially for those self-isolating or caring for others at this time.

How to access the scheme

If you've already worked out how much you can claim, you can claim for wages online via the HMRC online portal which is available on the UK Government website. HMRC will then check that your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by Bacs into your bank account within 6 working days.

Before you claim

  • You will need to work out how much you can claim through the scheme. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.
  • Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. Employers may need to seek legal advice on the process. If sufficient numbers of staff are involved, it may be necessary to engage collective consultation processes to procure agreement to changes to terms of employment.

You will also need:

  • To be registered for PAYE online
  • Your UK bank account number and sort code
  • Your employer PAYE scheme reference number 
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • Each employee's National Insurance number
  • Each employee's payroll or employee number (optional)
  • The start date and end date of the claim
  • The full amount you are claiming for including employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum pension contributions
  • Your phone number

You also need to provide either:
•    Your name (or the employer's name if you're an agent)
•    Your Corporation Tax unique taxpayer reference
•    Your Self-Assessment unique taxpayer reference
•    Your company registration number    

Please do not contact HMRC unless it has been more than 10 working days since you made the claim and you have not received it in that time.

After you've claimed you must keep a copy of all records including:
•    the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
•    the claim reference number for your records
•    your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim
•    tell your employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any more action
•    Pay your employee their wages, if you have not already

Filling skills gaps

Employers with acute skills gaps are now able to quickly advertise immediate opportunities to a broad audience through the My World of Work Job Hub, in line with Scottish Government advice on workers and essential services. The service has been developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry bodies, to support employers and individuals through the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. It enables employers across Scotland to quickly advertise immediate vacancies to a broad audience through the national online careers resource, and provides job seekers with a trusted source of opportunities at this critical time. Employers can find more information and upload job vacancies on the Job Hub.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme is for the self-employed or members of a partnership who have lost income due to coronavirus.

Who can apply

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be trading except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income must come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
  • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.

HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.

If you receive this grant you can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.

You can make a claim for Universal Credit while you wait for the grant, but any grant received will be treated as part of your self-employment income and may affect the amount of Universal Credit you get. Any Universal Credit claims for earlier periods will not be affected.

How much you’ll get

You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.

It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.

HMRC will pay the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020.

Please note the grant will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid.

How to apply

You can apply for the scheme on the UK Government website

Individuals should NOT contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme. 

If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not do this - it is a scam.

After you’ve applied

Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, HMRC will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.

If you claim tax credits you’ll need to include the grant in your claim as income.

We expect this hardship fund to close soon, please apply as soon as possible.

  • £34m Scottish Government fund
  • £2,000 grants will be allocated to newly self-employed facing hardship
  • For people who are ineligible from the UK Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme
  • Applications opened 30 April 2020 with recipients receiving funds by early May
  • Fund will be managed by local authorities
  • See the Self-employed Hardship Fund page to apply

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This temporary Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The scheme is expected to run for an initial period of 6 months. There is no limit on the capacity of the scheme.

Who and what is eligible

  • Supports loans of up to £5 million available on repayment terms of up to six years
  • UK Government will provide lenders with a partial guarantee of 80% on each loan
  • No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme – lenders will pay a fee to access the scheme
  • Interest and fees paid by UK Government for 12 months – this means no upfront costs and lower initial repayments for SMEs
  • For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, term will be up to three years

Your business must:

  • Be UK based in its business activity
  • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the Covid19 pandemic
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by Covid-19.

Please see further eligibility criteria.

How to apply

You should apply via your lenders website or through one of the 50+ accredited finance providers offering the scheme. The lender has the authority to decide whether to offer you finance. See details of these lenders.

Personal guarantees are not required to secure lending below £250,000. For any borrowing above £250,000 personal guarantees will be capped at 20% of the outstanding value of the loan, as the Government is providing the guarantee for the remaining 80% of the finance. This will apply to all customers that have secured a loan under the scheme since its launch on 23rd March.

Given there is likely to be a big demand for facilities, businesses should consider applying via the lender’s website in the first instance. Telephone lines are likely to be busy and branches may have limited capacity to handle enquiries due to social distancing.

See the full rules of the scheme.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Helps small and medium sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000

Lenders can provide a 6 year term loan from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover. The maximum loan amount is £50,000

100% government guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, both capital and interest. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.

The UK Government will make a Business Interruption Payment (BIP) to the lender to cover the first 12 months of interest payments

The borrower does not have to make any repayments for the first 12 months

The interest rate for the facility is set at 2.5% per annum, meaning businesses will all benefit from the same rate of interest

The length of the loan is 6 years but early repayments are allowed, without early repayment fees

Lenders are not permitted to take personal guarantees or take recovery action over a borrower’s personal assets (such as their main home or principle private vehicle).

There is no fee to access the scheme for either businesses or lenders.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • Is based in the UK
  • Has been negatively affected by Coronavirus
  • You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Businesses from any sector can apply, except: Banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers), Public sector bodies and State-funded primary and secondary schools

How to apply

Applications for Bounce Back Loans are now open.

See a list of accredited lenders.

You should approach a lender yourself, ideally via its website. In the first instance, you should approach your own provider. You may also consider approaching other lenders if you are unable to access the finance you require.

You will need to fill in a short application form online, which selfcertifies that your business is eligible for a loan under the Bounce Back Loan scheme.

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020

All lenders accredited under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) have been invited to become accredited to offer loans under the terms of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. The British Business Bank is working at pace to accredit those lenders who want to provide lending under the scheme to further extend its reach and provide more choice for smaller businesses.

See the full rules of the scheme.

Rates relief will be applied automatically and you do not need to do anything to apply for this. They will be as follows:

  • 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism  

Information and advice for businesses from the UK Government, Scottish Government and other agencies is changing rapidly. You will find all the latest information on business support for COVID-19, on the Find Business Support website (please sign up for email updates here) and the UK Government website

The latest government guidance is that all non-essential businesses and business premises must close with immediate effect as part of further social distancing measures, further details on this can be found on the UK government website.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of support including announcements on the, deferral of VAT and PAYE, Statutory Sick Pay relief.  The most up to date information is on the UK Government website.

We have a dedicated email address to contact the Business Support Team and if you need advice and support for your business you should email . We are experiencing a very high volume of emails and we will respond as soon as possible. We will post updates on this page and in social media as they become available.

Support is available for businesses locally through Business Gateway Lanarkshire via virtual advisory and workshop services. Advisers can offer free support covering a wide range of business matters including continuity planning, managing cash flow, HR and dealing with suppliers.

You can also watch this film about the practical steps you can take just now to help you plan for any disruption.

You can phone Business Gateway Lanarkshire on 01236 888 628


If you have any concerns about business property you should email


Call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 015 9559. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and on Saturday, 8am to 4pm. More details are available on the Scottish Government website.

The organisations listed below can also help your business with free-to-access checklists of what businesses can do to minimise the impacts of coronavirus on their operations (please click on their name for more information:

What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site

This advice is given under the proviso that your business is only open under the latest Government guidance of 23rd March 2020 which stated that all non-essential businesses and business premises must close with immediate effect.

If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance.

If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they don’t have internet access. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.

Cleaning, disinfecting and waste disposal in non-healthcare settings

The Government has released hygiene guidance for individuals, households, and businesses on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Environmental Services have enforcement powers in relation to the new COVID-19 legislation prohibiting, certain businesses from opening and ensuring social distancing arrangements are in place for businesses that are trading.

If you have any concerns regarding businesses that are open or issues relating to social distancing arrangements please contact Environmental Services on 0303 123 1015 or use our Enquiry form.

If you have any concerns about members of the public not adhering to Government guidance you should report it to the police on 101 or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.