Scottish Government fund is ‘vital lifeline’ for self-employed

Small firms in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors could also be eligible for grants of up to £25,000.

Small businesses and Scots who are newly self-employed will be given a “vital lifeline” thanks to a new £100 million fund set up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the move would mean thousands of people not eligible for help under UK Government schemes could still receive some financial support.

Those who have recently become self-employed can apply for grants of £2,000 she said, while small firms in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors could get grants of up to £25,000.

The Economy Secretary announced details of how the new funding pot, already announced by ministers, would be used to help.

Applications will be open from the end of April, Ms Hyslop said, with cash due to be paid out early in May.

A total of £34 million will go into a Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by local councils, to help those who have recently started working for themselves.

A further £20 million will go into a Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the enterprise agencies together with industry bodies Creative Scotland and VisitScotland, to help firms in this sector who are not already in receipt of business rates relief.

And a £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund will help firms that are “vulnerable but vital” to Scotland’s economic foundations, Ms Hyslop said.

She told MSPs at Holyrood: “The additional £100 million we allocated last week will be a vital lifeline for Scottish individuals and businesses to relieve hardship, protecting the newly self-employed ineligible for other support, and viable micro and SME businesses in distress who may be ineligible for UK Government sources of funding or not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive.”

Ms Hyslop said: “Because of our decisions, thousands more businesses, including some vital sectors of the economy, benefit from support not available elsewhere in the UK.”

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop, said: “This additional package of support will provide much-needed funding to protect self-employed people and SMEs in distress.”

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