The Falkirk Council area is staying in Tier 3 – any current grants and sources of support available are detailed below. We will continue to update the website when any new additional funds become available. Please keep checking back.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect most businesses in some way. If you're a local business looking for help, and your questions aren't answered below, Business Gateway Falkirk will be able to signpost you to advice and support.


    Strategic Framework Business Fund

    Businesses which continue to remain closed or are directly impacted by law, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions may be eligible to apply to the following funds:

    • Business Temporary Closure Fund - a grant of £2,000 or £3,000 (depending on rateable value) for businesses required to close by law.

    • Business Restrictions Fund - a grant of £1,400 or £2,100 (depending on rateable value) for businesses that remain open but are specifically required to modify their operations by protective measures, eg your business is required by law to close earlier than normal.

    Both funds will be payable every 4 weeks in arrears for the duration measures are in place.

    The fund is now live. For more information visit our page on the Strategic Framework Business Fund.


    Furlough Support Grant

    The Scottish Government Furlough Support Grant provides businesses with grants of £1,650 to help meet the cost of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20% employer's contribution that they are required to pay under the current UK Government Job Retention Scheme.

    This fund is open to businesses, trading up to 09 October, based in the Falkirk Council area that had to close under the Coronavirus (COVID-19) brake restrictions for licensed premises (retailers and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core of their business are not eligible for this grant) and covers the period from 09 October to 31 October 2020.

    Businesses who have already applied for the Coronavirus Restrictions (Closure) Fund will be contacted directly by to check if they are eligible for furlough support and there is no need to reapply.

    An award of £1650 will be made for each of the business premises where at least one employee is furloughed.

    If you did not receive the Coronavirus Restrictions (Closure) Fund and feel you may be eligible for this fund please email furloughfund@falkirk.gov.uk for an application form and full eligibility criteria.


    COVID-19 Business Contingency Fund

    Soft play centres and nightclubs which have been closed by law since the beginning of lockdown at the end of March may now be eligible for support through a £11m COVID–19 Contingency Fund. One off grants of £10,000 up to £50,000 will be available and will be based on the rateable value of the premises that the business operates from.

    Businesses operating multiple premises will be eligible to claim one full grant plus grants of up to 75% on subsequent properties.

    The Scottish Government have asked for Local Authorities to follow their strict guidelines to identify businesses who will be eligible for this support and will contact you shortly.

    The Business Gateway Falkirk office in the Falkirk Stadium is closed to visitors. All advisers are working remotely and can be contacted on:

    Business Gateway Falkirk

    Operating your business in line with latest regulations - who do you need to contact?

    As regulations and policies are now changing on a regular basis we want to provide support and assistance to help you make sure your businesses is operating in line with the latest regulations as outlined in the Scottish Strategic Framework.

    The Council area is now in Level 3 COVID-19 protection guidance.

    Detailed below are the contact details of the key teams you may need to consult to ensure you are operating within the current guidelines.

    Planning

    If you have any queries in relation to the use of outdoor seating or trading areas and/or external signage and you want to make sure that your business is fully compliant with all the regulations, the planning team will be happy to assist, simply email dc@falkirk.gov.uk.

    Environmental Health and Trading Standards

    Environmental Health and Trading Standards have produced the following information:

    • Re-opening for Business - including sectoral guidance/checklists and information around the regulations for physical distancing for staff and customers.
    • Working Safely through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - to help you keep workers safe (COVID secure) during the outbreak.
    • Legionella risks during Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - new guidance to assist businesses in helping to minimise risks associated with legionella bacteria in water systems whilst in shut down and before reopening.
    • Enforcing COVID legislation - for any concerns regarding businesses that are open or issues relating to social distancing arrangements you can report this here.
    • Food Safety - Guidelines, Food standards and legislation that all Food and Drink businesses should follow.
    • New supplementary Q & As for the hospitality sector - this aims to provide further clarity to hospitality businesses following publication of Scottish Government sectoral guidance and the reopening of outdoor (06 July) and indoor (15 July) areas.

    For any queries please email publichealth@falkirk.gov.uk.

    Licencing

    The Licensing Board are happy to assist licensed premises in relation to the use of outdoor drinking areas and are currently waiting on detailed guidance from the Scottish Government.

    The Licencing Team are currently working with all the relevant Council services to allow them to provide advice on what you need to do if you want to use or extend your existing outdoor drinking area or apply to have outdoor drinking added to your operating plan.

    Please email licensing@falkirk.gov.uk with any questions.


    Frequently asked questions

      How can I find out what financial support is currently available to my business?

      The UK government has created a support finder tool to help businesses see what support may be available to them.


      Are there any short-term loans for my business?

      Eligibility for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has now been extended to include larger businesses as well as SMEs. To find out how the scheme works visit the British Business Bank website. Lenders will now have the flexibility to extend the length of these loans from a maximum of 6 years to 10 years. Closing date 31 January 2021.

      Bounce Back Loans with 'Top up' scheme

      Small businesses can apply for a 100% government-backed Bounce Back Loan. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. A Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system has been introduced which includes extending the length of the loan from 6 years to 10, allowing interest-only periods of up to 6 months and payment holidays. To apply for this loan scheme you must complete an online application form.

      You can now 'top up' your Bounce Back Loan. This is applicable to businesses which haven't already borrowed the maximum amount permitted under the scheme (ie 25% of total turnover). This option can only be used once, and should be available to businesses from the week commencing 09 November 2020.

      COVID Working Capital Loans

      The loan is available to existing businesses that were viable as at 31 December 2019 and have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Issued by Business Loans Scotland (BLS), under the Scottish Growth Scheme, it aims to provide Scottish based small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with a loan to help fund working capital and cashflow needs. This loan is available in addition to other Government grant and loan schemes. Loans are offered at 6% interest, fixed for the term of the loan and can be repaid over a period of up to 5 years.


      Where can I get advice on business contingency planning?

      Business Gateway has created a support page that lists free business resources including information on business contingency planning.


      I am a Falkirk town centre business who do I go to for help?

      As well accessing advice from Business Gateway Falkirk on 01324 590960 or via business@falkirk.gov.uk you should contact Falkirk Delivers.

      Falkirk Delivers have now set up a Facebook group for Falkirk Town centre businesses.


      What support is there for tourism businesses?

      VisitScotland has created a dedicated section on its website offering useful information and advice for businesses in the Tourism sector. VisitScotland have stated that it will provide all 4500 businesses in its quality assurance scheme with a free year for the 2020 season and they will retain their star rating as a result.

      For more information email:

      The Scottish Tourism Alliance has a dedicated section on its website detailing support and job opportunities for those in the tourism sector.

      They also produce a daily update for the industry that you can sign up to.


      What are the latest changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)?

      This scheme has now been extended until the end of March 2021 with a review in January.

      • Eligible employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
      • Flexible furlough will be allowed.
      • There will be NO employer contribution to wages for hours not worked. Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions for hours not worked. To be reviewed in January.
      • The extended CJRS will operate as the previous Scheme did, with businesses being able to claim either shortly before, during or after running payroll. Claims can be made from 8am Wednesday 11 November. Claims made for November must be submitted to HMRC by no-later than 14 December 2020. Claims relating to each subsequent month should be submitted by day 14 of the following month.
      • Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS (if other eligibility criteria are met).
      • An employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
      • Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme announcement) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.

      Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

      Full guidance will be published on Tuesday 10 November 2020.


      Job Support Scheme

      The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 01 November 2020, has now been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until the end of March 2021.


      I am struggling to pay HMRC where do I go for help?

      HMRC's 'Time to Pay' self service facility has been extended for a further 12 months. Payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.


      I may have to make staff redundant what support can I get?

      Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE)is the government's response to redundancy situations and offers free impartial advice no matter the size of the business nor how many employees are involved.

      PACE helpline

      Skills Development Scotland have produced a really useful guide for anyone facing redundancy which summarises the free,impartial advice and support available to anyone in this situation.


      Where can I get help with my non-domestic rates?

      Anyone struggling to repay pre-exiting arrears should contact our non-domestic rates team via

      Scottish Government relief will be effective from 01 April and will reduce non-domestic rates for everyone. Please note, due to the late notice of these changes, rates bills will be issued later than normal. In addition, any ratepayer paying by Direct Debit over 12 months (April-March) will have no payment deducted in April this year and will pay over 11 instalments reflecting any entitled relief.


      I'm struggling to pay my water bills, what support can I get?

      The Scottish Government has agreed a £60m package of measures with the water industry, including Scottish Water's agreement to suspend pre-payment charges for licensed providers for 2 months, beginning with the April payment. This means providers - who supply water services to businesses – can be flexible with their own customers. The Central Marketing Agency will also assist the market by suspending all performance standard charges to ensure licensed providers can focus on supporting customers. We'll update this answer when more information becomes available.


      What are the latest updates to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme?

      The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed. The grant will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19.

      The extension will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in 2 lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The first grant will cover a three-month period from 01 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 55% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months' worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will be increased from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits to 80% for November 2020. This therefore increases the total level of the grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for 01 November 2020 to 31 January 2020. The second grant will cover a three-month period from 01 February 2021 until 30 April 2021. The Government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

      The grants are taxable income and also subject to National Insurance contributions.

      The online service for the next grant will be available from 30 November 2020 and you must make your claim on or before 29 January 2021.


      Where can I get help with my lease on my Falkirk Council business premises?

      Falkirk Council's commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will not be subject to any new legal action in terms of their lease for at least 3 months from 25 March 2020. No business will be forced out of their premises if they miss paying rent during this period. Rental invoices and reminders will still be issued by the Council.

      Cases will be considered further once the above support measures have been implemented and it is clearer as to the impact on each business. Any rent deferred as a consequence will be part of these discussions with you. Please contact the property team for any further information.


      Is there any support for charities, social enterprises or voluntary organisations?

      The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) - a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland - is now open for applications. The fund has been set up to help third sector organisations stabilise and manage cash flow over this difficult period. For full eligibility details and how to apply visit SCVO Funding.


      I work in the creative industries, what support is available to me?

      Creative Scotland has up to date information as to what funding what may be available to provide support to sustain the country's creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

      Is there any support for businesses operated by 18-30 year olds?

      The Princes Trust Enterprise Relief Fund is available to support 18-30 years olds who have set up their business in the last 4 years.


      I am a Private Sector Landlord is there any support for me?

      A £5 million fund offering interest free loans to landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent has been announced. This loan scheme offers eligible landlords up to 100% of lost rental income for a single property. Further information including an online application can be accessed via the Scottish Government website.


      I have to introduce Contact Tracing - how do I go about this?

      The Information Commission Office have produced guidance for small business in relation to this as they want to help ensure businesses get this right first time as they adapt to new ways of working.

      Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce have launched a Track & Trace app which will allow you to securely check in your customers & collect data in line with official guidelines to support the Scottish Government Test & Protect Programme. There is a small charge for this app for Non-chamber members.


      Would my business be able to apply the new reduction in VAT?

      If you're a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT (a temporary 5% reduced rate) on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions. A new section about Retail Schemes was added to the guide on 21 July 2020.

      The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021.