Renfrewshire Council

Last reviewed: 17:00, 10 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:

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

Closed funds

The following funds are now closed to new applicants. If you have an application in process, you can find out more about the schemes below.

Self employed:



Third sector:

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 now mandatory.

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

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 of the scheme.

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 deferred a VAT payment due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, these are 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.

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

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.

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

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

Outdoor seating for cafés, pubs and restaurants

We understand some cafes, pubs and restaurants will be considering adapting their premise to provide outdoor tables and seating. We want to help you, here's what you need to consider.

You will need a 'pavement permit' which can be requested by emailing our Roads team at or call 0300 300 0380.

If customers will be served alcohol outside, you will need an occasional licence. To download the application form and for more details, visit Occasional Licences. Our Licensing team can also advise by email to

If you are providing a cover over the seating area, such as a pergola, you may need a building warrant and planning permission. For more details on a building warrant, contact our Building Standards team by email to

For support, information and queries on planning, email or call 0141 618 7835. The planning team can also advise about Advertisement Consent, should you wish to use screens or umbrellas featuring corporate branding.

Timescales can vary depending on the consent required, but we will aim to respond as quickly as possible. We will be as supportive as we can for a business looking to adapt its premise, but it's best to talk to our officers as unfortunately not all proposals will be acceptable.

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

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 at Scottish Government Coronavirus Guidance

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act includes measures to support businesses, including:

  • allowing people and some small businesses unable to repay debts due to Coronavirus to apply for a six-month 'breathing space' period
  • extending the notice period before a commercial lease can be terminated for non-payment of rent from 14 days to 14 weeks
  • extending the deadlines for licence applications allowing the sale and supply of alcohol, and taxi and private hire
  • allowing licensing hearings to be conducted by phone and other remote approaches
  • extending the period applicants have to start a development
  • extending planning consent that was due to lapse within next six months until April 2021.

Full details: Coronavirus (Scotland) Act

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill was introduced to relieve the burden on businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Full details: Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

Closed funds

The following funds are now closed to new applicants. If you have an application in process, you can find out more about the schemes below.

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund

This fund is now closed. This fund consisted of the Small Business Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. It helped to keep small and medium-sized companies in business, protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery.

Our business teams are working hard to ensure businesses can access this funding as quickly as possible and, at Tuesday 7 July 2020, had considered 99 per cent of all applications, approving award of 2266 grants, totalling £25.5million.

Small Business Grant

Ratepayers of businesses located in a non-domestic property on 17 March 2020 could apply for a support grant of £10,000. 

Businesses could 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 could apply for the Small Business Grant fund for each of their properties.

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 could apply for a single, one-off £10,000 small business grant. 

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 could apply for a £25,000 grant. Ratepayers with multiple business properties were 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.

The Council aims to make payment of approved applications within 10 working days. 

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience fund

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

Full details: Scottish Government Find Business Support

Newly self-employed Hardship fund

This fund is now closed. People newly self-employed and suffering hardship as a result of Coronavirus could apply for a £2,000 grant from the Scottish Government Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. This fund was for people who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and were ineligible for support through other schemes. We aim to make payment of approved applications within 10 working days of the completed application being received.

Support for small B&Bs

This fund is now closed. B&Bs could apply for a £3000 grant from the Scottish Government Bed and Breakfast fund. The fund provided hardship relief to B&B and other small serviced accommodation businesses who were unable to access support through other schemes as a result of banking status.

Creative, tourism and hospitality

Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary

This fund is now closed. Creative Scotland 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 experienced a loss of earnings due to Coronavirus. 

Full details: Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary

Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary

This fund is now closed. Screen Scotland 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 experiencing a loss of earnings due to Coronavirus. 

Full details: Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary

Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

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

Full details: Scottish Government Find Business Support

Wellbeing Fund

This fund is now closed. The Scottish Government's Wellbeing Fund supported third sector organisations providing important services for people as a result of Coronavirus. 

Full details: Wellbeing Fund

Community Response, Recovery and Resilience fund

This fund is now closed. Local charities and grassroots organisations across Scotland could apply for funding support between £1,000 and £5,000 to help them respond to Coronavirus and recover from its impact. 

Full details: Community Response, Recovery and Resilience fund