We’ll use this page to share COVID-19 support and advice for small businesses, adding updates as new announcements are made.

These unprecedented times caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic present huge challenges to small businesses. The Crunchers Edinburgh team are all working remotely, and are here to support you and your business through this difficult and distressing time.

If you need to know more about anything here or you have any questions, please get in touch with us – call 0131 502 0543 or email Hamish: Hamish.Sheppard@crunchers-edinburgh.co.uk. Please also keep an eye on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages for updates, including any of our free small business online forums.

You can also find the full Government online guidance at:

12 May 2020

Furlough scheme extended to October

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October, with furloughed workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.

From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

See the details in full on the Gov.UK website.


2 May 2020

NEW Bounce Back Loans – launching 4 May

The UK Government has announced new loans will be made available for small and medium-sized businesses, from the 4th May.

  • The goverment will guarantee 100% of the loan, and businesses negatively affected by coronavirus can apply to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
  • No fees or repayments will be charged during the first 12 months.
  • If you have already requested an interruption loan (CBILS) you cannot apply – but you can arrange to transfer your loan to the new Bounce Back scheme. This must be done by 4 November.

See the full details and find out how to apply on the Gov.UK website.


01 May 2020

Three new grants for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Three new grants, recently announced by the Scottish Government, opened today for applications.

Full details are on the FindBusinessSupport.Gov.Scot website

Key points:

  1. Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

    1. https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/pivotal-enterprise-resilience-fund
    2. For businesses that play a critical role in supporting Scotland’s recovery
    3. Potential to continue trading and supporting employment but face immediate cash flow challenge
    4. Can demonstrate the funding will support business to be viable
    5. Not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019
    6. Can use the grant for working capital to help meet a cash flow gap or can be used to augment other funding from Government and other sources
  2. Creative or Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

    1. https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/creative-or-tourism-and-hospitality-enterprises-hardship-fund
    2. Fund is designed for companies that are ineligible for other COVID-19 grant support or are not yet in receipt of the funds they need to survive.
    3. You have experienced at least a 50% loss of current or projected revenue
    4. Not in receipt of other COVID-19 government support, except the Furlough Scheme
    5. Self employed / limited company
  3. Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

    1. Need to apply in your Local Authority area (find links at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/coronavirus/newly-self-employed-hardship-fund)
    2. Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £2,000
    3. You became self-employed on/after 6 April 2019
    4. Over 50% of your individual income is from self-employment
    5. Your trading profits were below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20


16 April 2020

Reclaiming furloughed staff salaries – update and instructions from HMRC

HMRC have issued additional instructions for reclaiming furloughed staff salaries – the online portal for this opens on Monday, 20th April.

HMRC have also announced an important update to employee eligibility for the scheme:

  • You can claim for employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying us of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020
  • Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to us on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.

See the full update: Reclaiming furloughed staff salaries – instructions from HMRC

08 April 2020

Urgent – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update

Main bullet points:

  1. Businesses, and agents that are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters, will be able to claim.
  2. Businesses will need the following information on each of their furloughed employees:
    • National Insurance number
    • Salary, National Insurance and pension contribution information that allows businesses to calculate the claim amount
  3. Service Launch 20 April
  4. Service is designed to be self-serve with guidance in place

Please get in touch if you need further information.

26 March 2020

Support for self-employed workers

The UK government has announced that self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of COVID-19.

The money will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.

See Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement on the BBC website.

We’ll update with further links once these are available.


25 March 2020

Weekly COVID-19 small business forum

We will be hosting a free weekly online forum covering:

  • COVID-19 support currently available
  • Business development – helping your business through these uncertain times
  • Question and Answer sessions

We’ll share links to each online forum on our social platforms.

City of Edinburgh Council – non-domestic rates and cash grants

The City of Edinburgh Council’s webpage includes links to guidance and support for businesses, links to forms to apply for funding, and the latest update on COVID-19 and the council’s services.

If you need to know anything about eligibility for funding, please get in touch.

East Lothian Council – non-domestic rates and cash grants

East Lothian Council’s webpage includes links to support for businesses, non-domestic rates relief, business interuption loans and an application form for one-off grants.

Deferring VAT payments

All UK businesses are eligible to defer VAT payments from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Gov.uk says: This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

Deferring income tax payments

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Gov.uk says: You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment.

The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so.

How to access the scheme
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until January 2021.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

18th March 2020

Video: How to help prepare your small business for Covid-19

Hamish Sheppard gives an overview of how you can prepare your small business for Covid-19 and help to mitigate the challenges of the coming months.

Watch it here.

Tax Q of the Week
How to register for CIS

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