Renfrewshire Council

Last reviewed: 14:30, 4 July 2020

Support for business, self-employed and employment

Information, support and guidance for businesses, people self-employed and for people looking for employment. This includes the most-up-to-date information we have on the measures and schemes announced by the Scottish and UK Governments.

On this page:

Available online services

Who to contact for advice and guidance

Support for businesses

Support for Self-Employed

Sector-specific support

Jobs and employability

Government bills, legislation and guidance

Available services online

Who to contact for advice and guidance

Our Business Development and Business Gateway team are available to help you.


Contact an advisor:

  • Gary Kenyon - 07534 007841
  • Robert Kinniburgh - 07483 914535
  • Colin Orr - 07483 914561
  • James Edmonds - 07483 914556

Support for businesses

Phased lifting of restrictions

As part of its phased easing of lockdown restrictions, the Scottish Government has set out dates when businesses can re-open, together with supporting guidance. Any business re-opening must ensure it follows the guidance and implements the required physical distancing measures. Wearing a face covering in shops is mandatory from 10 July 2020.

Street-access retail and outdoor markets can now re-open, as can indoor (non-office) workplaces including factories, warehouses, laboratories and research facilities. This does not include non-essential indoor office workplaces or non-essential shops inside shopping centres.

Further indicative re-start dates are set out by the Scottish Government: Indicative dates Phase 3

Guidance documents have also been published, with detailed information for different sectors.

Full details: Scottish Government Coronavirus guidance

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund

This fund consists of the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, helping to keep small and medium-sized companies in business, protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery.

Eligible business ratepayers can apply to Renfrewshire Council for these grant funds, which close for new applications on 10 July 2020.

Our business teams are working hard to ensure businesses can access this funding as quickly as possible and by Tuesday 30 June 2020 have considered 99% of all applications, approving award of 2227 grants, totalling £25million.

Small Business Grant

Ratepayers of businesses located in a non-domestic property on 17 March 2020 can apply to access a support grant of £10,000 provided they meet one of the following: In receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme; In receipt of Rural Relief; Eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme, but in receipt of: Business Growth Accelerator; Charitable Rates Relief; Disabled Relief; Discretionary Sports Relief; Enterprise Areas Relief; Fresh Start Relief or Nursery Relief. 

Businesses can apply for a £7,500 grant for any subsequent qualifying property, provided the premises were occupied on 17 March 2020 for the business use specified.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors where their properties individual rateable values do not exceed £18,000 and cumulative rateable value is between £35,0001-£51,000 are able to apply for the Small Business Grant fund for each of their properties. From Monday 8 June, the combined rateable value has increased to be between £35,001-£500,000 for applicants with multiple retail, hospitality or leisure properties.

From Monday 8 June 2020, tenants or occupiers of premises such as shared office spaces, business incubators and shared industrial units for which the landlord is the registered rate payer may be eligible for a single, one-off £10,000 small business grant. This grant is irrespective of the rateable value of the property and to be eligible, you must be ineligible for any other government business support grant and be a registered business or partnership, have a lease signed before 17 March 2020, employ at least one person and have a business bank account.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Ratepayers of businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors operating in premises with a rateable value between £18,000 up to £51,000 can apply for a £25,000 grant. This Scottish Government webpage lists the type of eligible businesses. Ratepayers with multiple business properties which meet these criteria are now eligible to receive a one-off grant of £25,000 for their first property and £18,750 for each subsequent qualifying property, provided the premises were occupied on 17 March 2020 for the business use specified.

How to apply

Renfrewshire businesses submit their application to the Council and we aim to make payment of approved applications within 10 working days, though this can take longer if we require additional information.

Apply for a Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Grant

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK employers with a PAYE scheme will have access to the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, safeguarding employees from being made redundant. HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee's usual wage cost, up to £2500 per month, together with the associated employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions. The online service to make claims is now open and the guidance page provides details on how this scheme will change from 1 July 2020.

Make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Guidance and information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

VAT Deferral

If you're a UK Value Added Tax (VAT) registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 this can be deferred until a later date. You do not need to tell HMRC you are deferring your VAT payment, but if you pay by Direct Debit, you should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debit as soon as you can. VAT payments due following the end of the deferral period will have to be paid as normal.

Full details: HM Revenue & Customs VAT deferral

Business Rates

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will receive a 1.6% business rates relief, automatically applied to your bill by Renfrewshire Council.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme

Businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence resulting from Coronavirus. This will cover up to two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay per eligible employee. Employers should maintain staff absence records and payments of Statutory Sick Pay but will not require a GP fit note from an employee. The online service to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay is now open.

Full details: Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

Businesses with an annual turnover up to £45million can apply to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5million for up to six years. The schemed is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the UK Government-owned British Business Bank.

Full details: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Small and medium sized businesses affected by Coronavirus can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Loan terms will be up to six years and the UK Government will guarantee 100% of the loan, with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. If you have already received a loan through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and would like to transfer to the Bounce Back Scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

Full details: Bounce Back Loan Scheme

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Larger firms affected by a short-term funding squeeze can access the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility which sees the Bank of England buy short-term debt.

Full details: COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Business Loans Scotland and West of Scotland Loan Fund

Businesses with existing loans from Business Loans Scotland or the West of Scotland Loan Fund will receive a three-month capital and interest holiday, applied directly by Business Loans Scotland. Please be aware, Business Loans Scotland is aware of a fraud using its name, asking for an upfront fee. Business Loans Scotland will never ask for an upfront fee.

Full details: Business Loans Scotland

HMRC Time to Pay Service 

Any business or person self-employed facing financial distress at this time and outstanding tax liabilities can contact HMRC on its dedicated helpline 0800 0159 599 for tailored tax relief support.

Full details: HMRC helpline


On 5 March 2020, the UK Government added Coronavirus to its list of notifiable diseases. This ensures businesses with unspecified notifiable disease cover can make a claim, subject to the specific terms and conditions of their insurance policy. However, most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as Coronavirus. Businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their insurance policy and contact the insurance provider for further information.

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience fund

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience fund supports viable, but vulnerable SMEs who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland. Support is based on specific need and is developed by the relevant enterprise agency together with wraparound business advice and support. This fund has now closed.

Full details: Scottish Government Find Business Support

Future Fund

The UK Government has confirmed the creation of a Coronavirus Future Fund providing government loans between £125,000 to £5million, subject to equal match funding from private investors, to support innovative companies facing financial difficulties resulting from Coronavirus. These loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This scheme is now open for applications.

Full details: Future Fund

Support for Self-Employed

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme supports people self-employed or a member of a partnership, with a taxable grant of 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months and capped at £7,500 altogether. HMRC work out eligibility and how much a person may get. People self-employed or a member of a partnership can claim if they traded in the tax year 2018-2019 and submitted a self-assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020; traded in tax year 2019 to 2020; intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-2021 and have lost trading profits due to Coronavirus.

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.

If you receive texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or a tax refund and asking you to click on a link or to give personal information, it is a scam. Email it to and then delete it. The online claims service is now available.

Check if you are eligible: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Online Checker tool

Full details: Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Newly self-employed Hardship fund

People newly self-employed and suffering hardship as a result of Coronavirus may be eligible for a £2,000 grant from the Scottish Government Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. This fund is for people who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and are ineligible for support through other schemes. One grant is allowed per self-employed person and full eligibility details and all the information you need to provide is outlined in the online form. We aim to make payment of approved applications within 10 working days of the completed application being received, though this may take longer if we need to contact you for more information. People self-employed in Renfrewshire who wish to apply for this fund should apply to Renfrewshire Council by completing the online application form.

This fund closes for new applications on Friday 10 July 2020.

Apply online: Newly Self-Employed Hardship grant

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments deferral

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 can be deferred until 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer, with no applications required and no penalties or interest for late payment will be charged. During the deferral period, it is recommended to set up a budget payment plan to help prepare to pay the deferred amount.

Full details: Self-assessment Income Tax Payments

Sector-specific support


Scottish airports and businesses providing airport handling services for scheduled passenger flights to Scottish airports will receive 100% business rates relief for the 2020/21 tax year. For Renfrewshire businesses, this is automatically applied by Renfrewshire Council. Handling services are defined as one or more of the following: de-icing; re-fuelling; moving aircraft; waste servicing; allocation of seating; handling of baggage and supervision of boarding.

Support for small B&Bs

B&Bs may be eligible for a £3000 grant from the Scottish Government Bed and Breakfast fund. The fund provides hardship relief to B&B and other small serviced accommodation businesses who have not been able to access support through other schemes as a result of banking status. ineligible for other support. B&Bs in Renfrewshire apply to Renfrewshire Council using the online application form, which details eligibility requirements and the information you will need to complete the application.

This fund closes for new applications on Friday 10 July 2020.

Apply now: B&B Hardship Grant

Childcare providers

All private and third sector early learning childcare providers in Renfrewshire who provide funded ELC in their settings will continue to receive payments from Renfrewshire Council for these funded hours. Private and third sector providers can also access support from: Scottish Government Business Support Grant; Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme.

Creative, Tourism, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Business rates relief

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will benefit from 100% business rates relief for the 2020/21 tax year, automatically applied by Renfrewshire Council. Business properties must be occupied to receive this relief, with those businesses temporarily closed due to Coronavirus considered as occupied.

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support grant

Eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses can apply for a one-off £25,000 Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support grant.

Full details: Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support grant

Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary

Creative Scotland has established a £2million fund providing one-off bursaries of between £500 and £2500 to support freelance artists and creative practitioners working in the not-for-profit sector in Scotland who have experienced a loss of earnings due to Coronavirus. This fund has now closed.

Full details: Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary

Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary

Screen Scotland has established a £1.5million fund offering one-off bursaries of between £500 and £2500 to support freelance or self-employed screen practitioners working in Scotland's screen sector and are experiencing a loss of earnings due to Coronavirus. This fund has now closed.

Full details: Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary

Sustaining Creative Development fund

Creative Scotland has established the Sustaining Creative Development fund to help individuals and organisations explore ways of working that helps them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances. Funding available is between £1,000 and £50,000.

Full details: Sustaining Creative Development fund

Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

Creative, tourism and hospitality companies may qualify for the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by enterprise agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and Visit Scotland. This fund has now closed.

Full details: Scottish Government Find Business Support

Food retailers

Food retailers looking to introduce takeaway and delivery options for their customers should read our advice and guidance page.

Full details: Food retailer guidance

Heritage organisations

Heritage sector organisations are able to apply for emergency grants of £3,000 to £50,000 and emergency grants of £50,000 to £250,000.

Full details: Heritage Emergency fund

Emergency Loan Fund for SME Housebuilders

This fund offers short-term loan funding to small and medium-sized housebuilders with liquidity issues due to the temporary closure of housebuilding sites.

Full details: Emergency Loan Fund for SME housebuilders

Private Rent Landlords

The Scottish Government has established the Private Rent Sector Landlord COVID-19 Loan Scheme, offering eligible landlords up to 100% of lost rental income for a single property. It supports private-sector landlords not classified as businesses who have five properties or less and have lost rental income due to tenants unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus through a short-term emergency interest free loan.

Full details: Private Rent Sector Landlord COVID-19 Loan Scheme

Third sector and charities

Third Sector Resilience Fund

Eligible Scottish charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations can apply to the Third Sector Resilience Fund, delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation. It is providing grants between £5,000 and £100,000 to ensure the continued health and viability of third sector organisations, together with flexible, 0% interest loans and specialist business advice from Just Enterprise.

Full details: Third Sector Resilience Fund

Wellbeing Fund

The Scottish Government's Wellbeing Fund supports third sector organisations who are providing important services for people as a result of Coronavirus. Register your interest now through the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. This fund is currently closed.

Full details: Wellbeing Fund

Community Response, Recovery and Resilience fund

Local charities and grassroots organisations across Scotland can also receive funding support between £1,000 and £5,000 to help them respond to Coronavirus and recover from its impact. This fund is currently closed.

Full details: Community Response, Recovery and Resilience fund

Young entrepreneurs

Enterprise Relief Fund

Young entrepreneurs may be eligible for grant support through the Enterprise Relief Fund, provided by The Prince's Trust. The fund has three grants: Business Diversification grant, Business Crisis Sustainability Grant and Working Capital Grant. These grants are for people aged 18-30 self-employed or running their own business set up in the last four years and who have no other source of income during Coronavirus. The initiative also offers one-to-one support and guidance.

Full details: Enterprise Relief Fund

Water providers

Licensed water providers will benefit from the suspension of pre-payment charges by Scottish Water for two months, starting in April.

Full details: Scottish Water

Jobs and employability

What is furloughing?

Furloughing is designed to support firms and prevent mass unemployment, helping to pay the wages of people who can't do their jobs due to Coronavirus and helping companies to retain them. A furloughed employee remains on the payroll and enables a business to claim 80% of an employee's wages from the government, up to a maximum of £2,500 per person per month before tax. Businesses must write to affected employees to let them know they have been furloughed. Furloughed employees must have been on the company's PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020 to qualify and it covers all types of contracts, including part-time and flexible contracts.

Full details: Can my employer use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

Training and development support

We appreciate this is a difficult time, but there are jobs available for people who want to deliver key services as well as training and development opportunities to prepare for future employment. Our jobs and employability team Invest in Renfrewshire team can help you with lots of different aspects of getting a job and preparing you for work.

Government bills, legislation and guidance

Scottish Government guidance

Guidance and advice for businesses and employers is being published by the Scottish Government, including details on Phase 2 and sector-specific guidance.

Full details: Scottish Government Coronavirus Guidance

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act came into force on Tuesday 7 April and includes measures which support businesses.

Changes include:

  • People and some small businesses unable to repay debts due to Coronavirus can apply for a six-month 'breathing space' period, while the limitation of applying for 'breathing space' once in a 12-month period has also been removed.
  • The notice period before a commercial lease can be terminated for non-payment of rent has been extended from 14 days to 14 weeks.
  • Licensing authorities can extend the deadlines for licence applications allowing the sale and supply of alcohol, and taxi and private hire and allows licensing hearings to be conducted by phone and other remote approaches.
  • Applicants now have three years to commence a development following planning consent being granted and any consent due to lapse within next six months is extended until April 2021.

Full details: Coronavirus (Scotland) Act

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 

On Wednesday 20 May, the UK Government introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill to Parliament. The measures in the bill are aimed at relieving the budren on businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak allowing them to focus efforts on continuing to operate.

The Bill will:

  • Introduce temporary easements on filing requirements and Annual General Meetings (AGMs)
  • Introduce new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival
  • Temporarily suspend parts of insolvency law to support directors during this difficult time

Full details: Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill