Businesses, employers and jobs - coronavirus update

Discretionary Business Support Fund

Applications for the Discretionary Business Support Fund round two are now open. Read following guidance and apply online below.

Scottish Government has provided Local Authorities with additional support for businesses where they consider that necessary or justified. The City of Edinburgh Council was awarded just under £2.8 million of this funding.  A further £10 million was awarded allowing us to extend the criteria from the original fund and support more businesses. 

We will process new applications on a first come first served basis. The fund will be open for a period of 4 weeks until 5pm on Friday 23 April 2021. It will be re-opened again if any funding remains once those applications have been assessed.

Who can apply

This fund aims to support local businesses that are experiencing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. It is only available if you have not been able to, and will not be able to, access other business grants provided by the Scottish Government introduced since October 2020. This includes the first round of this Discretionary Scheme.

Please note that if you were successfully awarded a payment of £2,000 in round one of this scheme you will automatically receive a top-up payment of a further £2,000.  You do not need to re-apply.

If you were rejected in round one but believe you now fit the eligibility then you are free to apply again.

This fund will provide a one-off core payment of £4,000. You do not have to pay this back.

We are also now able to award additional payments in order for you to retain staff on payroll.  Payments will be made on the basis of staff numbers on payroll and are in addition to the £4,000 core discretionary payment.  Please note that only staff on payroll as of February 2021 who work from your Edinburgh operations are eligible.  Owners, partners or directors or staff paid as contractors or freelancers are not eligible for this top up payment and should not be included.  These figures are per business, not per staff member.

  • £20,000 for businesses employing between 100 and 250 staff
  • £16,000 for businesses employing between 50 and 99 staff
  • £12,000 for businesses employing between 25 and 49 staff
  • £8,000 for businesses employing between 10 and 24 staff
  • £4,000 for businesses employing 1-9 staff.

The fund is open to

  • Limited Companies (including Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations and social enterprises)
  • Sole Traders/ self employed/ freelancers
  • Trusts, Partnerships
  • Community Interest Companies

who have been forced to amend or close their operations as a direct result of legislation, or facing hardship as an indirect consequence of the current restrictions, but are ineligible for financial support through the Scottish Government initiated funding.

This may include, but is not restricted to, suppliers of goods or services to those who have been closed or restricted by legislation but will not include those who have been unable to trade as a result of personal circumstances.

To be eligible for support, businesses must

  • be based in the City of Edinburgh Council area – for applicants living outside Edinburgh, please ensure you provide evidence that your business trades within Edinburgh
  • are still trading or would be if Covid restrictions allowed
  • be a medium, small or micro enterprise, employing less than 250 staff
  • have suffered significant (in excess of 20%) loss of income as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. A comparison of the average income for January/February 2020 against average of January/February 2021 will be made to determine this reduction.  You must be able to prove this loss of income if required.  If you are unable to demonstrate a loss over this specific period, you may provide additional information to demonstrate a covid restrictions related loss in income 
  • not be connected to a tax haven, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No 2) Act 2020
  • not be in receipt of an enforcement notice as a result of breaching COVID-19 Regulations
  • be trading, or would have traded were it not for the restrictions in place. Businesses who are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made are not eligible for funding.

If you have been awarded or are eligible for other funding

You cannot apply for this fund if you are eligible for any scheme of support introduced or announced by Scottish Government since 1 October 2020, including but not restricted to

Funding exemptions

If you are, or have been, in receipt of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self Employment Income Support Scheme or Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund you can still apply for this fund.

Evidence and documentation for your application

Please ensure you have this information ready in advance as you will have limited time during the application process to upload this information and if insufficient evidence is submitted then the application will be immediately rejected.  You must provide the following

  • Copy of photographic proof of identity for the applicant such as a passport or driving licence including provisional driving licence. This must be in date to be valid.
  • Proof of address in the name of the business, or, for self-employed, in the name of the applicant such as
    • recent (dated within last 3 months) utility bill or bank statement
    • electoral register entry
    • valid driving license (not if also used as proof of identity)
  • A PDF copy of your full business bank statement (not a summary) for the month of January 2021, showing business income and related outgoing expenditure. This must be the account that grant payments should be made to.  The statement must also show the account number and sort code which must match the details provided in the application.  If you do not have a business bank account then please highlight all business transactions on your personal statement to demonstrate business activity.

If there were no business income or outgoings during this month, another full one-month timeframe may be acceptable at our discretion.

You can request a PDF version of your statement from your bank or through online banking if you have it. If a PDF copy cannot be provided, a photograph of the first page of the bank statement including name, bank account number and sort code will be acceptable but you may be required to provide further evidence.

Details on your business income for the months of January and February 2020 and January and February 2021 or information on a Covid restrictions related income loss in some further timeframe

If relevant, a copy of your payroll details or a letter from your accountant confirming payroll details or details of your furlough scheme or some other form of evidence at our discretion.  This must evidence the number of employees on payroll from February 2021

any 2 of the following

  • A supplier or reseller trade account (active) such as documentation or a statement showing a trading account with a wholesaler, an eBay seller account, Amazon Business, Etsy.
  • Valid business insurance in the trading name of the business or name of the applicant
  • Your HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference (if registered).  If not yet registered, copy of correspondence or other details showing registration is being sought or provide further details to explain position. This should be a letter or electronic communication – handwritten/self typed numbers are not acceptable.
  • VAT Registration Number. This should be a letter or electronic communication.
  • Marketing materials for your business, for example a business website, active social media. Web links, social media account name (such as LinkedIn, Facebook) – multiple channels only count as one piece of evidence)
  • Other evidence of business activity to support your claim. Acceptability of such evidence is at the discretion of the grant processing team.

You must also be able to confirm

  • your Standard Industrial Classification of economic activities (SIC code)
  • detail of any previous Covid-related grants received since October 2020 – this must include the name of the fund, the date of the award and the amount awarded.  Failure to declare this information may lead to your application being rejected and could be subject to a fraud referral.

File formats and file sizes

You can upload PDF, Word docs. Digital images in .jpeg or .png format are also accepted. Unfortunately we are unable to accept .HEIC file types.  Please ensure that file sizes of each individual evidence submitted does not exceed 1MB – due to systems restrictions, applications with a total size across attachments in excess of 5MB cannot be submitted.

Apply online

Apply for the Discretionary Business Support Fund

Decisions and appeals

Incomplete applications will be immediately rejected so please ensure you have all the required evidence and information at hand before commencing your application.

We will notify you of a decision within 20 working days. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide updates to applications made within this timeframe.  If successful, payment will be made within 5 working days of approval. Appeals will only be available for selected reasons and for rejected applications submitted before the scheme is suspended or closed. 

Privacy notice 

Download the Discretionary Business Support Fund privacy notice