As explained by the First Minister at the media briefing earlier, businesses which are affected by local restrictions and so are unable to trade, can apply for Business Hardship and Business Closure Funds from today.

In the capital, these are being administered by The City of Edinburgh Council on behalf of The Scottish Government who provided £40 million available nationally to Scottish businesses.

Edinburgh businesses such as pubs and restaurants which are affected by current government guidance can now apply for funding from the Coronavirus Restrictions Business Fund.

Local businesses can apply online with the grants distributed by The City of Edinburgh Council.

The Business Closure Fund is a grant of up to £3,000 available to hospitality and other eligible businesses required to close (except for takeaways) by these new regulations. Up to £1,500 is available to businesses that are able to remain open but have been significantly impacted by the restrictions through the Business Hardship Fund.

The first round of applications for both funds is open to hospitality businesses that are required to close or operate in a restricted way due to the regulations and are able to evidence a minimum 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period. Scottish producers or wholesale businesses supplying primarily short-life goods or products to hospitality businesses and some gyms that can show the same reduction in turnover will also be able to apply for the Business Hardship Fund.

Retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for these closure or hardship funds.

The Scottish Government will also work with business and sector representative organisations to provide additional support through a new £11 million contingency fund for businesses that need support but do not qualify for either of the new Funds.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:“Our local businesses have been fantastic during the last seven months but there’s no getting away from how difficult this situation is and now more than ever it is imperative that we continue to support Edinburgh’s local traders.

“This funding is to help our businesses survive and to enable them to thrive when they’re able to trade again as normal. Our team are ready to process applications quickly to make sure businesses get this support as fast as possible.

“As well as helping our local businesses access the Scottish Government Funds, we’re looking at other actions we can take to build on the continued support we have been providing since the start of the lockdown.

“Again, I encourage everyone to support where they can: visit your local cafes and unlicensed premises, look out for your neighbours and continue to follow the public health guidance provided.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day said: “Edinburgh’s local economy has been hard hit and we need to do everything we can to support them during this incredibly difficult time. We are working with the Scottish Government to help our affected local businesses access the funding that has been made available to them and will continue working with them and other partners throughout our ongoing response to and recovery from Covid-19.

“We have to double down on our efforts to support local industries, businesses and jobs in the best way we can: by coming together as one Team Edinburgh and supporting our local businesses and communities.”

The Council has taken previous steps to promote a sustainable economic recovery and support small businesses throughout the pandemic, including:

  • Awarding £112.5m in more than 9,000 Government funded Coronavirus Business Support Grants to local businesses
  • Supporting businesses to gradually reopen safely with a ‘Ready, Set, Go’ advice service, including guidance provided to 20,000 business owners
  • A more flexible approach to licensing to help more businesses apply to use outdoor space
  • Accelerating plans to use the Council’s supply chains to better support local business and stimulate economic growth
  • Creating more space for people to travel to businesses safely and enjoyably through the Council’s Spaces for People initiative, with priority being given to support walking, cycling, wheelchair use and prams
  • Working with the Edinburgh Tourism and Action Group and other partners to support the #ForeverEdinburgh campaign which will gradually market the City as an attractive place for shopping, dining out and visiting with a £55,000 contribution from the Council.