2nd April 2020
The Chamber team are now working from home and Naver Business Centre is closed to the external public. We are working hard to allow our service to run as smoothly as possible. For updates please see below. To get in touch, specific email addresses are available by clicking on the relevant envelope on the meet the team page. If in doubt, email firstname.lastname@example.org and your message will be relayed to the relevant people/person. You can call us as normal on 01847 890076.
We will update as and when we can, these provisions are currently in place for the foreseeable future.
Most importantly, stay safe.
We’ve been trying to keep on top of the information in regards to Coronavirus and have compiled a list here which we hope to be easy to access for all. This list will be updated as and when we have new, relevant information:
As well as sharing information here, we’ll be regularly using our Facebook and Twitter pages to deliver trustworthy advice and information. Members, we can help circulate messages to customers, please get in touch.
To help you quickly get around the information on this page, you can click the links below to take you to the relevant page sections.
- Key Information and Support
- Other Support Mechanisms
- Member-Specific Support
- Community Support
- Other Guidance
Key Information and Support
The Scottish Government have a dedicated website for business support and a helpline on 0330 303 0660.
The following document summarises the key support packages announced by both UK and Scottish Governments to date, and we have provided further information on other support in following sections.
Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme
This will enable employers to “furlough” staff i.e. to have them not working but kept on payroll, and will cover a portion of salaries as well as employer pension and National Insurance contributions.
Eligible employees include full-time, part-time, agency and zero-hour contracts, as well as employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020 if they are rehired.
Download the job retention scheme Q & A.
You can get a template letter to assist with furloughing employees through the ChamberHR document library.
Self-Employment Income Support
This scheme will allow self-employed persons to claim a taxable grant of up to 80% of trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Some key points:
- Open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 (or average profit less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19)
- More than half of income in these periods must come from self-employment
- Grants to cover the period to May and payments to be made as a single lump sum, starting at the beginning of June
- Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational
Those who are self-employed but not eligible for support through the scheme may be able to claim Universal Credit.
COVID-19 Small Business Support Grant
Administered by the Highland Council, this will allow eligible businesses to apply for a one-off grant of either £10,000 or £25,000.
There are a range of eligibility criteria, but key points include that the premises must have been occupied on Tuesday 17 March 2020 and businesses must be on the Non-Domestic Rates register.
Note that the Highland Council is experiencing a high volume of applications and has asked businesses to make every effort to fill out applications correctly the first time. If you have any queries about the application or supporting evidence required, please contact the Chamber today.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This new scheme provides lenders with a government-backed guarantee on business finance products up to £5m, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities.
Smaller businesses from all sectors can apply for the full amount of the facility and must be:
- UK-based with a turnover of no more than £45m per year
- Have a proposal which would be considered viable by the lender
Third Sector Resilience Fund
A £20m emergency fund which will provide grants of between £5,000-£100,000 and 0% interest loans starting at £50,000 to charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland that find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other Support Mechanisms
HMRC & Companies House
- Deferring VAT – all UK businesses can deferr their Value Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
- Deferring Income Tax – Income Tax payments for the self-employed due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred until July 2021.
- Scaled up Time to Pay offer – all businesses and individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support.
- Businesses will be given an additional three months to file accounts with Companies House.
- Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (COVID-19)
- All non-domestic properties in Scotland will receive a 1.6% rates relief – this will be applied automatically to their bill
- Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will receive 100% rates relief
Sector-specific support and guidance
- Creative Scotland – Bridging Bursary Fund
- Creative Scotland – Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development
- Screen Scotland – Bridging Bursary Programme
- Support available for those working in the cultural and creative industries
- XpoNorth – COVID-19 Coronavirus Resources
Food & Drink
Hospitality & Tourism
- Guidance for campsites, holiday parks, caravan sites, motorhome hire businesses and their users
- Hospitality Action
- Hospitality Health
- Scottish Tourism Alliance advice pages
- VisitScotland – coronavirus support and information
- Just Enterprise – Business Resilience and Support
- Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations Information hub
- Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations funding for organisations information
- Advice from Social Enterprise Scotland
Member Specific Support
Members Update from Trudy, Caithness Chamber Chief Executive (19th March update)
Chamber members gain access to a range of benefits. During the Coronavirus emergency the Quest Services could prove invaluable. Members are entitled to a free library of documents in the following areas:
To access these services, members require log in details. These can be gained by emailing Fiona Levack (email@example.com), Business Development Manager.
Member to member support:
- Anubis Security are offering members of Caithness Chamber a discounted service to offer support at this time. The Anubis team have been designated an essential service and therefore, have the ability to deploy staff for asset protection, static guarding mobile patrol or alarm response. A discount of 25% is offered. Contact them using this link and quote that you are a Chamber member.
- Fiona of More than Motivation is one of two accredited Liberating Leadership® practitioners in Scotland and is a Licensed Motivational Maps® Practitioner.
Throughout this difficult time for businesses, Fiona is happy to listen to anyone who feels they need someone to talk to and is offering coaching services which will not be charged for during this three week period. (24th March onward)
Chamber Network information and online events:
We’re working with our colleagues in the Chamber network to press issues concerning members and distribute information to our membership group as best as we possibly can.
- Business Advice & Guidance: Covid 19 (Scottish Chambers of Commerce)
We’re aware that many businesses and individuals are keen to offer support in the community during the ongoing crisis. A number of organisations are now coordinating support across the region, details here:
- Highland Council Helpline and Humanitarian Assistance Centres – This helpline will be used region wide to support those vulnerable at this time. The council will work alongside Caithness Voluntary Group and many other local partners to deploy community support. The number to call is: 0300 303 1362. You’ll then be have three options. 1 – Register to help. 2 – I need help (callers will then be redirected to specialist teams) 3- I have received a shielding letter.
- Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI) are coordinating offers from individuals who are looking to volunteer their services. You can view the Community Action Register for your area and are encouraged to get in touch with the organisation in your area direct. Alternatively, fill out a form to receive a callback about joining the volunteer register.
- Dounreay are receiving numerous requests for PPE from health and care providers in the area, and have offered to help coordinate donations of PPE from companies in Caithness. If you have spare PPE you are able to donate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can also contact Caithness Voluntary Group for more information on voluntary support.
- Highland Council latest updates
- Financial community support from North Highland Initiative with support from Dounreay.
- Business and social distancing – including the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises
- Health & Safety Executive – Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice
- Health & Safety Executive – Social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- Information Commissioner’s Office – Data protection and coronavirus: what you need to know
- National Cyber Security Centre – Home working: preparing your organisation and staff
- Police Scotland – Coronavirus scams and home working
- Supporting key workers, including childcare provision