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.

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

Preparing for re-opening your business - who do you need to contact?

We want to provide support and assistance to help you make sure your businesses are ready and prepared to re-open safely and in line with the latest regulations.

Detailed below are the contact details of the key teams you may need to consult prior to re-opening.

Currently in Phase 3 of Scotland's route map, new business and physical distancing guidance has been published.

Let customers know that you are 'Open for Business' by signing up to the 'We're Good to Go' accreditation scheme. A national quality consumer mark which has been introduced by Visit Britain in conjunction with Visit Scotland, Wales, England and Tourism Northern Ireland.

This supporting mark mean businesses across all sectors of the tourism industry in Scotland can demonstrate that they're adhering to the respective government and public health guidance, and have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment to check they have the required processes and protocols in place. If you are a accommodation provider, attraction, restaurant, cafe,retailer or any other tourism facing business please sign up to this scheme and then let us know that you have this mark by tagging #visitfalk

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.

    New Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses announced

    Small businesses will be able to apply for a 100% government-backed Bounce Back Loan from Monday, 4 May. 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. To apply for this loan scheme you must complete an online application form.

    COVID Working Capital Loans

    The loan is available to existing businesses that were viable as at 31st 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.

    Hotel Support Programme

    This new programme will provide funding and bespoke packages of wrap-around business support from Scottish Enterprise and partners.

    Key criteria for this scheme includes:

    • Rateable Value of more than £51,000
    • Employ at least 50 employees
    • Operated since before December 2019
    • Be based in Scotland
    • Provide jobs that are critical to the local economy and recovery of the Tourism Sector

    An expression of interest must be submitted before 09 September 2020.

    All information on the Hotel Support Programme, including full eligibility criteria and details of how to submit the expression of interest.


    What is the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, who is it for and how is it changing?

    Under this scheme, employers can furlough employees who they might otherwise have to make redundant due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The UK Government will pay 80% of the wages (up to a maximum of £2,500 a month) of these furloughed employees to preserve jobs.

    You can claim for wages through the scheme online: GOV.UK - Claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme

    Unless you're making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if:

    • you have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between March 01 and 30 June 2020
    • you submitted your claim before 31 July 2020

    From 01 August 2020, businesses will be asked to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees' wages.

    Job Retention Bonus Scheme

    The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the scheme, and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021.

    Eligible employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between 01 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus after they have filed PAYE for January and payments will be made to employers from February 2021.


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

    All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC Time to Pay. You can contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559. More information is available online.


    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

    Please note, Scottish Government relief will be effective from the 1 April that 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 two 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.


    I am self-employed, what support is there for me?

    Applications for the second and final grant are now open and are worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months' worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

    Deadline for claims is 19 October 2020. Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.


    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.


    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 the 21st July.

    The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.


    Is there any support for the Events Industry?

    Administered by Visit Scotland, the Events Industry Support Fund will comprise of a one-off grant of £10,000 to support businesses in the events industry, particularly those in the supply chain that are facing hardship.

    The grant will be awarded as the applications are received and will provide financial help for businesses in the events industry who have been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Applications for the fund can be made until noon on Monday 14 September 2020. Read the full details on the application process and requirements Events Industry Support Fund.

    Please email Visit Scotland with any queries: