Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates

Business support

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East Ayrshire businesses

To find out more about any local support which may be available, East Ayrshire based businesses should contact our Business Support team.

Latest news - how to apply for help if you are self employed

We will have more details about the UK Govt scheme to help people who are self employed shortly.  In the meantime here are some useful links to help you find out more. Please check back here for updates.

How to claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme on the GOV.UK website

Self employment support FAQs 

Funding sources to support businesses in Scotland facing coronavirus

Coronavirus business support fund

We're now administering the newly launched Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund in East Ayrshire.

Who is eligible?

You can claim if you are the ratepayer of a businesses located in a non-domestic property that was on 17 March 2020:

You can apply to access a support fund and receive a one-off small business support grant of £10,000. This is only available if you were the ratepayer for a premises occupied for that business use on 17 March 2020.

A separate one-off grant of £25,000 is available to the ratepayers of businesses in the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure sectors operating in a premises with a rateable value of £18,001 or up to £50,999. 

You can apply for a one-off grant payment up to 31 March 2021. Only one grant is allowed per ratepayer regardless how many premises you own. 

What are the grants for?

These grants aim to help keep companies in business and maintain productive capacity so that they can recover. They should:

  • protect jobs
  • prevent business closure
  • promote economic recovery

How can I apply?

Application form

Fill in our online application form here

Please note that you will need to include your Business Rates Reference number in the application. If you are unsure of that number, please email us with your business name and address.

We will review your application and assess if you are eligible for the grant. 

If you have already applied via our email system, please be assured your application will be processed in due course and you do not need to reapply.

All Scottish Councils aim to make payment within 10 working days from receipt of a fully completed application. 

The deadline for applications to the Business Support Fund is 31 March 2021. 

Coronavirus job retention scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers can access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Read more on the UK Govt support here

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has also opened for applications. It supports term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and more. It can provide facilities of up to £5 million for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.

BeReady

  • We provide free practical advice from specialist HR and financial management consultants via the beReady programme, delivered remotely and addressing what employers should be doing now to look after their employees and to safeguard the future of their businesses.
  • Existing beReady projects will continue to be delivered and new projects supported, with all consultants working directly with companies via telephone, Skype, Go ToMeeting or other remote communication tools.

Please email enquiries to business@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

Watch this short webinar by Business Gateway on the practical steps you can take just now to help you plan for any disruption.

Scottish Enterprise has issued this advice on business continuity

Public houses/restaurants offering takeaway service 

Many public houses and restaurants do not currently have planning permission to operate as takeaway premises selling food and drink for consumption outside the premises.  

Given the current situation however, it is vital that support is given to these businesses to allow them to maximise opportunities to maintain a revenue stream and avoid potential closure. Similarly, having local businesses providing takeaway services will enable members of the public to order goods and services with minimum exposure to risk of infection from coronavirus. 

The Scottish Government has stated that, during the current exceptional circumstances, planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting public houses and restaurants from providing takeaway services.

All of this will be reviewed after three months, and it would be the Scottish Government’s intention to withdraw it once the immediate urgency has passed.

Read further advice from Environmental Health

Retailer distribution restrictions relaxed to ease delivery pressures

Many supermarkets, other retailers and distribution centres are subject to controls which restrict deliveries from lorries and other delivery vehicles to set hours.   These include planning conditions, which are necessary to make the development acceptable to local residents who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues as a result of these deliveries.     

Given the exceptional challenges facing the country from the coronavirus however, it is vital that deliveries of food and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible, minimising disruption to the supply chains on which our communities depend.   The likely pressures on driver capacity mean additional flexibility is needed so that retailers can accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary.   

The Scottish Government has written to all Scottish Local Authorities advising that these restrictions should be temporarily relaxed. Read the letter here (PDF 159Kb)  

Business rates relief and grants announced

The Scottish Government has announced a range of support that includes rates relief for Scottish businesses and grants for businesses in some sectors that are likely to be most affected. Read the details of Scottish Government £2.2bn support

Help with non-domestic rates

To help owners of non-domestic properties deal with the impact of Coronavirus, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21 and a one-off grant for business. Read more about non-domestic rates relief

Help with statutory sick pay

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to two weeks per employee. Further assistance has been given in the recent UK Government budget including:

  • A refund covering up to two weeks SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP. (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.
  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

Helpline and useful contacts

The Scottish Government business helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

Contact Information

Economic Development
Opera House
8 John Finnie Street
Kilmarnock
KA1 1DD
Telephone: 01563 503237
Council Headquarters
London Road
Kilmarnock
East Ayrshire
KA3 7BU
Contact us online: www.eastayrshi.re/contactus
Save time, do it online: www.our.east-ayrshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01563 554400
Textphone: 01563 576167
24 Hour Emergency Helpline: 0345 724 0000 (local rate)