Categories
Business Coronavirus

Investing in our future workforce

£10 million for apprenticeships.

Scotland’s future workforce will be at the heart of rebuilding the economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said.

Announcing £10 million for a range of measures to recruit and retain apprentices, including additional funding for the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme, Ms Hyslop said the funding would help modern and graduate apprentices who are facing redundancy as a result of COVID-19 get back into work.

Ms Hyslop said:

“The young people who will make up our future workforce are among those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic. As such, it is crucial that we support them and ensure they are at the heart of our economic recovery from COVID-19.

“This targeted funding will extend the reach of our support for apprentices, including our Adopt an Apprentice programme. Combined with our commitment of at least £50 million for youth employment and the Youth Guarantee, we will ensure no one is left behind.

“Apprenticeships are not only valuable for our young people, they are a key way for all employers to invest in their workforce, and provide the skills the economy needs both now and in the future.

“Our focus is on protecting jobs, creating jobs, ensuring quality jobs and supporting skilled jobs. By taking this action to protect and support skilled jobs now, we will rebuild a stronger, fairer and greener future for Scotland.”

Frank Mitchell, Chair of Skills Development Scotland, said:

“This welcome announcement underlines the importance of apprentices to the Scottish economy and the crucial role they will play in supporting individuals and businesses in the recovery from COVID-19.

“We will continue to liaise with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and other employer organisations on the development and delivery of employer incentives and subsidies. SDS is also fully engaged with the work Sandy Begbie is leading on the development of a jobs guarantee for young people in order to maximise the use of all available incentives towards the retention and recruitment of apprentices.”

Further immediate investment to support economic recovery from COVID-19 was set out last week by the Scottish Government, with additional funding for workforce training and digital technology announced.

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund, which helps employers upskill and reskill their existing workforce through college courses, will be increased from £10 million to £20 million. Meanwhile a further £1.5 million will be invested into the Digital Boost programme – almost trebling the capacity of the initiative for the remainder of this financial year.

Background:

Skills Development Scotland are working with employers to identify other measures to recruit and retain apprentices.

Skills Development Scotland manage the Adopt an Apprentice programme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

In April 2020 the Scottish Government extended the Adopt an Apprentice programme to include Graduate Apprenticeships to offer £2,000 to employers who employ a redundant Graduate Apprentice.

Graduate Apprentices who have been made redundant from 1 February 2020 will be eligible for the programme.

Categories
Business Coronavirus

Rebuilding better

Actions for economic recovery from COVID-19.

Targeted measures to build a stronger, fairer and greener economic future for Scotland in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been announced.

Publishing responses to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board report, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop outlined key actions to generate significant economic growth, combined with a focus on supporting jobs, skills and training.

These initial measures include:

Investing at least £50 million to support Youth Employment, including the Scottish Job Guarantee

Embedding Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeship places as part of our wider college and university provision, as well as extending Fair Start Scotland services

Introducing a Transition Training Fund to support individuals facing redundancy and unemployment in those sectors most exposed to a downturn providing opportunities to upskill and transition into employment

Maximising help for those facing redundancy through the Scottish Government’s PACE support programme

Making it easier for SMEs to compete for public sector contracts and supporting them to make greater use of digital technology
exploring options to alleviate planning restraints, build capacity and deal more quickly with complex applications

Inviting leaders from business and other organisations to work with senior civil servants to ensure key Scottish Government policies maximise opportunities for economic benefit

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“We all acknowledge the scale of the challenge facing Scotland’s economy as result of COVID-19, but we also recognise this is an opportunity to do things differently and crucially to rebuild a stronger, fairer and greener economic future. The Scottish Government’s focus will be on protecting jobs, creating jobs, ensuring quality jobs and supporting skilled jobs. We are working quickly to achieve this and many of the actions outlined today are already well underway.

“No one should be left behind and our work to prioritise those hardest hit by this pandemic is clear through our commitment of at least £50 million for youth employment and the Scottish Job Guarantee, as well as our dedicated Transition Training Fund which will provide opportunities to upskill and transition into employment.

“We are also focused on generating significant economic growth through further action to support our small and medium sized businesses, proposals to alleviate planning restraints and our commitment to continue working closely with business leaders to ensure we are doing all we can.

“Ultimately, the best way to secure our recovery from the economic challenges of COVID-19 is to eliminate the virus. That is why it is so important that we continue to invest in Test and Protect, and why all of us must continue to follow the guidelines – particularly around social distancing and hand hygiene.”

Background:

The  response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery is based around the following six themes:

Business recovery and growth
Engagement and partnership approach
Employment, skills and training
Supporting people and places
Investment-led growth for wellbeing impact
Monitoring progress and outcomes

The  response to the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board report gives detail of actions based around the following priority areas:

Assistance to support business retention
Assistance for those facing redundancy
Training to enable unemployed people to transition into employment
Helping vulnerable people into employment

Categories
Business Coronavirus

Further route map detail announced

Indicative dates for Phase 2 and early Phase 3 measures announced to help planning.

Provisional dates for the relaxation of travel restrictions, restarting of the hospitality industry and reopening of hairdressers are among further route map measures announced today (Wednesday 24, June) by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Setting out indicative dates, the First Minister stressed that while sustained progress has been made to suppress coronavirus (COVID-19), the changes remain contingent on scientific and public health advice.

Physical distancing of 2 metres continues to be required in Scotland. The First Minister confirmed that the Scientific Advisory Group is providing advice on higher transmission risk settings and physical distancing and that she will provide a further update on 2 July, ahead of the proposed dates for re-opening hospitality.

Detailed sectoral guidance will be published ahead of indicative dates and the Scottish Government will join with the retail sector in a campaign to encourage the use of face coverings in all shops.

Indicative early Phase 3 dates announced today are intended to give businesses time to prepare for reopening while adhering to public health and physical distancing measures to protect workers and customers. Final decisions on moving into Phase 3 will be taken in line with the statutory three-weekly review cycle, due on 9 July.

Indicative Phase 2 dates:

• 3 July – Travel distance limit for leisure will be lifted
• 3 July – Self-catering holiday accommodation will be permitted, providing it requires no shared facilities between households
• 6 July – Outdoor hospitality can commence subject to the Scientific Advisory Group review

Indicative Phase 3 dates:

• 10 July – People can meet in extended groups outdoors, with physical distancing
• 10 July – Households can meet indoors with up to a maximum of two households, with physical distancing
• 13 July – Organised outdoor contact sport can resume for children and young people, subject to guidance
• 13 July – All dental practices begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care, and work will begin to return aerosol generating procedures to practice safely
• 13 July – Increasing capacity within community optometry practices for emergency and essential eye care
• 13 July – Non-essential shops inside shopping centres can reopen, subject to the Scientific Advisory Group review
• 15 July – All childcare providers can open subject to individual provider arrangements
• 15 July – All holiday accommodation will be permitted
• 15 July – Indoor hospitality can reopen, subject to the Scientific Advisory Group review
• 15 July – Hairdressers and barbers can reopen with enhanced hygiene measures
• 15 July – Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries will reopen with physical distancing and other measures, such as ticketing in advance

Announcing the route map changes, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The sacrifices that have been made – and I know how hard and at times painful they have been – have suppressed the virus. They have also protected the NHS, and have undoubtedly saved a significant number of lives.

“They have also brought us to the position where we can now look ahead with a bit more clarity to our path out of lockdown, and I hope details announced today will provide people and businesses with more certainty in their forward planning.

“But let me be clear that each step on this path depends on us continuing to beat the virus back. That is why we must do everything in our power to avoid steps being reversed.

“The central point in all of this is the virus has not – and it will not – go away of its own accord. It will pose a real and significant threat to us for some time to come.

“Maintaining our progress also means all of us abiding by public health guidance. Wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, avoiding crowded places, washing our hands and cleaning surfaces regularly, maintaining physical distancing, agreeing to immediately self-isolate and get a test if we have symptoms – all of these basic protections matter now more than ever as we all get out and about a bit more.”

Previously announced Phase 2 measures commencing Monday:

• Indoor (non-office) workplaces resume once relevant guidance is implemented. This includes: factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities. But excludes: indoor workplaces due to open in Phase 3 (e.g. nonessential offices and call-centres)
• Street-access retail can re-open once guidance is implemented. Interiors of shopping centres/malls remain closed for non-essential shops until Phase 3
• Outdoor markets can re-open once guidance is implemented
• Relaxation on restrictions on housing moves
• Outdoor sports courts can re-open
• Playgrounds can re-open
• Registration offices open for high priority tasks
• Marriages and civil partnerships allowed with minimal attendees, strictly outdoors only
• Zoos and garden attractions can open for local access only (broadly within 5 miles) until 3 July
Updated route map can be found here

Categories
Business Coronavirus

More support for small businesses

Grants extended to help more companies in need.

Small businesses which share properties but do not pay business rates are now eligible to apply for grants to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, rate-paying landlord. Separately, eligibility has also been extended to companies occupying multiple premises with a cumulative value of more than £51,000.

Eligible businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for grants of up to £10,000.

It has also been confirmed that the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes will close for new applications on 10 July. Latest figures up to 2 June show that £824.541 million has been distributed to 72,622 businesses across Scotland through the schemes, but that new applications have slowed in recent weeks.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“Our comprehensive package of business support is now worth more than £2.3 billion. Our programme is kept under constant review, and we are always looking for ways to extend eligibility to help more businesses. That is precisely what we are doing.

“New applications for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant schemes have slowed in recent weeks as large numbers of businesses have already applied. We are committed to ensuring every penny we receive from the UK Government for business support – and more – will be passed to businesses. It is essential that we do not allow funds to sit for too long in schemes that are attracting few applications, so we have decided to bring these to a close next month. That will mean that any remaining money can be re-routed to help businesses in other ways, as we have already started to do for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

“I would encourage the owners of any eligible small business which needs support to consider applying through their local authority during the next five weeks and before 10 July.”

Background

Further details on these grant schemes.

Applications for a Small Business Support Grant may now be made to the appropriate local authority from tenants that are a registered business or partnership, have a lease signed before 17 March 2020, employ at least one person and have a business bank account.

From 5 May, the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants were extended to businesses with multiple properties. This included businesses with a number of properties whose cumulative rateable value exceeded £35,000 (making them ineligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme, thereby preventing them from accessing the Small Business Grant) and whose individual rateable value does not exceed £18,000 (thereby preventing them from receiving a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant). To date, the cumulative rateable value of all such properties held was capped at £51,000, but from 8 June, this is increased to £500,000.

Schedule 3.1 of the Scottish Government’s Summer Budget Revision confirms the budget for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants as £1.202 billion. 

Categories
Business Coronavirus

Extra £100 million Business Support

Scottish Enterprise have helpfully been in touch this afternoon to provide more information about eligibility for the additional £100 million financial support for businesses from The Scottish Government now open for applications at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

Please see below and in the attached slides for info. ⬇️

Dear Joe,

Further to Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop’s announcement that the Scottish Government’s additional £100m fund for businesses impacted by COVID-19 will open for applications later today, we wanted to provide you with further information about this support.

Companies will be able apply via our partner website https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/. This grant funding has been divided into three distinct funds:

➡️ The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund – a £45m fund for viable but vulnerable SME firms who are vital to Scotland’s economy

➡️ The Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund – a £20m fund for small creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of COVID-19 business rates relief

➡️ The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund – a £35m fund for newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants

In a collaborative approach, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise will deliver both the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, with support from Creative Scotland and VisitScotland.

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund will be delivered by local authorities. Links to individual local authority applications are available via the https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/ website. Full information about the eligibility criteria for this fund has been attached.

We are acutely aware of how tough a time this is for businesses in Scotland, so demand for this additional funding is likely to be exceptionally high. A guiding principle for us throughout this crisis has been to provide support to those who need it most. Delivering this extra assistance will be no different and will be of vital importance in order to support the economy.

For the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, support will be targeted at businesses that can demonstrate the following:

➡️ Drive economic prosperity – for example through wages, employment, exports, supply chain, etc.
➡️ Are a supplier or potential supplier to NHS or other COVID-19 vital services
➡️ Are suppliers to other essential businesses
➡️ Can scale up or diversify due to COVID-19 opportunities
➡️ Continue to trade or can quickly come out of hibernation
➡️ Play an important role within their local community

For the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, support will be targeted at businesses in this sector that can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19.

For each fund, companies must meet the following eligibility criteria:

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund:

➡️ Companies with up to 249 employees that have been trading successfully prior to COVID-19
➡️ Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet total of €43m
➡️ Can demonstrate the funding will support the business to be viable
➡️ Not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019
➡️ Must have business bank account

The Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund:

➡️ Companies up to 49 employees
➡️ Experienced at least a 50% loss of current or projected revenue
➡️ Not in financial difficulty pre 31th December 2019
➡️ Are not in receipt of other COVID-19 government support, except Coronavirus Job Retention ‘Furlough’ Scheme
➡️ Not for pre-revenue companies
➡️ Must have a business bank account

We have all worked together at pace to ensure the appropriate infrastructure and capacity is in place to deliver this support. Resources have been reallocated to ensure this fund is administered at maximum efficiency. We have pulled together key individuals across our respective organisations, such as Account Managers and Specialists, to support the appraisal of applications.

Getting the money to recipients is of critical importance. We anticipate the application process will take no more than ten working days and successful applicants will receive funds paid 100% upfront within that timeframe.

Full details on what information companies will need to provide as part of the application process can be viewed at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/.

We expect that you have received a substantial number of enquiries from businesses in your constituency/ region about what support is available to them. Please do share this information with any companies you think would benefit from this assistance and meet the criteria we have outlined. We will also share this information via our various social media channels on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Only a collaborative approach will allow us to support companies and reset, restart and recover the Scotland’s economy. Thank you in advance for your support at this most challenging of times.

Kind regards,

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise

Carroll Buxton, Interim Chief Executive, Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Nick Halfhide, Interim Chief Executive, South of Scotland Enterprise

Iain Munro, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive, VisitScotland