Scottish Government Announce Lifeline Support For Businesses in Scotland

21st April 2020

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days.

The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief
  • £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland

The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

Commenting on the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Fiona Hyslop’s statement on the support measures for Scottish businesses, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The extra support being made available to fill the gaps where it has so far been unable to reach businesses and employees is welcome, but we must insist that the mechanism of how to get this help is made clear and the cash is delivered as quickly as possible. The need for support is urgent and companies have already fallen by the wayside.

“Many businesses will want to see more detail on how the ‘response, reset, restart and recovery’ plan will clear the current perfect storm of uncertainty. The Chamber Network is ready to play our part in a constructive way with the Scottish Government to help forge the way ahead. Businesses are anxious to work towards how we can rebuild our businesses and retain jobs.”


The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed. The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.

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