The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund aims to provide hardship relief in the form of £2,000 grants to those individuals who are newly self-employed and have not been able to access support through other COVID-19 schemes.

The fund will be administered by our Growth & Investment Unit.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for this fund, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • Became self-employed on/after 6th April 2019 (did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19)
  • Over 50% of individual income is from self-employment
  • Trading profits below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20
  • Can provide evidence of active trading up to March 2020 and intend to continue trading in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost business due to Coronavirus COVID-19 and experience personal financial hardship as a result
  • Ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support (including the Business Interruption Loan Schemes, Corporate Finance Fund, Job Retention Schemes, Future Fund, R&D Focussed SMEs Fund, HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Non-Domestic Rates relief, Coronavirus Business Support Fund Grants or other COVID-19 related business support)
  • Are not yet in receipt of any of the following working age benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Statutory Sick Pay
    • Employment and Support Allowance
    • Job Seekers' Allowance
    • Income Support or have applied for but not yet started receiving Universal Credit at the time of applying (Please note you must advise DWP if you are awarded this Hardship Fund if you have applied for Universal Credit)
  • Trade as self-employed, not as a limited company. If in a partnership, are self-employed for pay and tax purposes.
  • Have taken steps to limit costs and expenditure (including through schemes such as VAT deferral and seeking a mortgage payment and holidays)
  • Do not have access to sufficient savings or other sources of income to meet basic needs

How to apply

Before you begin

Before you start your application please check that you have the following information ready to upload to your application.

The system will not allow the application to proceed without the following 5 pieces of evidence

You will need:

  1. Fully completed application form
  2. Photographic proof of ID A valid passport or driving licence
  3. Photographic proof of address A council tax or utility bill
  4. Bank statements Business or personal covering 3 months to March 20, this must show income and outgoings from self employment
  5. Any 2 of the following trading evidence supplier/reseller trade account:
    • Current business insurance
    • HMRC - unique Tax Reference number
    • VAT registration number
    • Any other evidence to support your claim

The application will only take twenty minutes to complete and once we have received your fully completed application it will take ten working days to process your application.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of this scheme?

The purpose of this fund is to provide hardship relief to newly self-employed individuals who have lost revenue to coronavirus and have not been able to access support through other COVID-19 business support schemes

If successful, how much will I receive?

Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £2,000.

How many times can I apply?

Individuals may only apply once and only in one Local Authority area.

Can I apply for this scheme and the UK Government Self-Employment Income Support Scheme?

No, this scheme is only for people who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and therefore are not eligible for the UK Government scheme.

Is the grant taxable?

Grant recipients will need to declare this as income to HMRC.

How will you determine eligibility?

Self-employed people will be asked to provide documentary evidence of their status and eligibility for the grant. We will then determine whether you meet the criteria set out by Scottish Government.

What proof do I need to provide regarding my self-employed status and eligibility?

You will need to provide documentation to show you have had an active business prior to COVID-19, such as VAT registration, bank account statements showing revenue and outgoings linked to self-employment, marketing materials, etc. You will also need to self-declare that you are currently experiencing hardship and provide evidence of being resident in the Falkirk Council area. A full list of what you need to submit is provided with the application form.

How long will it take to process my application?

It is anticipated, if all documentation is provided and the application form completed correctly, that applications will be turned around in 10 working days.

Can I continue to work if successful?

Yes. If you receive the grant you can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.

Will people be able to appeal if their application is rejected?

Yes, they will be able to ask the local authority to look at the decision again

Why isn't this scheme as generous as the UK Government’s Self-Employment Income Support scheme?

The UK Government’s scheme is open to applications for self-employed people in Scotland who submitted a tax return for 2018-19 were trading in the 2019-20 financial year. This scheme targets those people who are ineligible for the UK Government scheme. We have called on the UK Government to provide additional funding for people who became self-employed in the 2019-20