Coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect most businesses in some way. If you're a local business looking for help, and your questions aren't answered below, Business Gateway Falkirk will be able to signpost you to advice and support.

The Business Gateway Falkirk office in the Falkirk Stadium is closed to visitors. All advisers are working remotely and can be contacted on:

Business Gateway Falkirk

Preparing for re-opening your business - who do you need to contact?

We want to provide support and assistance to help you make sure your businesses are ready and prepared to re-open safely and in line with the latest regulations.

Detailed below are the contact details of the key teams you may need to consult prior to re-opening.

Currently in Phase 2 of Scotland's route map, new business and physical distancing guidance has been published.

Planning

If you have any queries in relation to the use of outdoor seating or trading areas and/or external signage and you want to make sure that your business is fully compliant with all the regulations, the planning team will be happy to assist, simply email dc@falkirk.gov.uk.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards

Environmental Health and Trading Standards have produced the following information:

For any queries please email publichealth@falkirk.gov.uk.

Licencing

The Licensing Board are happy to assist licensed premises in relation to the use of outdoor drinking areas and are currently waiting on detailed guidance from the Scottish Government.

The Licencing Team are currently working with all the relevant Council services to allow them to provide advice on what you need to do if you want to use or extend your existing outdoor drinking area or apply to have outdoor drinking added to your operating plan.

Please email licensing@falkirk.gov.uk with any questions.

Frequently asked questions

My business has been ineligible for any assistance is there any new support available?

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund offers newly self-employed people facing hardship a one-off £2000 grant.

Where can I get general business advice relating to COVID-19?

Where can I get advice on business contingency planning?

Business Gateway has created a support page that lists free business resources including information on business contingency planning.

I am a Falkirk town centre business who do I go to for help?

As well accessing advice from Business Gateway Falkirk on 01324 590960 or via business@falkirk.gov.uk, you should contact Falkirk Delivers.

Falkirk Delivers have now set up a Facebook group for Falkirk Town centre businesses

What support is there for tourism businesses?

VisitScotland (VS) has created a dedicated section on its website offering useful information and advice for businesses in the Tourism sector. VS has also announced it will provide all 4500 businesses in its quality assurance scheme with a free year for the 2020 season retain the star rating result. For more information email

The Scottish Tourism Alliance has a dedicated section on its website detailing support and job opportunities for those in the tourism sector.

They also produces a daily update for the industry that you can sign up up to.

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and who is it for?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is expected to be up and running by end of April. All UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 28 2020 will then be eligible to apply. To access the scheme you will need to designate employees as furloughed workers (employees on a leave of absence) and notify your employees of this change. You will then have to submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through an online portal which the HMRC hope to have live next month. The portal will then be used by employers to claim for 80% of their furloughed employees' usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.

You can now claim for wages through the scheme online: GOV.UK - Claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The furlough period has now been extended until the end of October however the percentage of employees wages paid by the Government in September and October will start to reduce. Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June.

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June

What Scottish Government support is available to my business?

Please see our Business Support Fund Grant page.

Can I get relief if I have a premises used for Retail, Hospitality or Leisure?

Occupied premises in the Falkirk Council area that are predominantly or exclusively used for Retail, Hospitality or Leisure (as at 17 March 2020), and listed in the Valuation Roll with a qualifying description, can be awarded full rates relief for 2020/21 because of COVID-19.

Please do not apply for this relief until you are registered for Non-Domestic Rates and have received your rates bill.

If this relief is not showing on your 2020/21 rates bill, you can apply using the online form.

Are there any short-term loans for my business?

Eligibility for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has now been extended to include larger businesses as well as SMEs. To find out how the scheme works visit the British Business Bank website.

New Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses announced

Small businesses will be able to apply for a 100% government-backed Bounce Back Loan from Monday, 4 May. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. To apply for this loan scheme you must complete an online application form.

I am struggling to pay HMRC where do I go for help?

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC Time to Pay. You can contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559. More information is available online.

I may have to make staff redundant what support can I get?

Please read What is the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and who is it for?

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE)is the government's response to redundancy situations and offers free impartial advice no matter the size of the business nor how many employees are involved. The PACE helpline number is 0800 917 8000.

Where can I get help with my non-domestic rates?

Anyone struggling to repay pre-exiting arrears should contact our non-domestic rates team via

Please note, Scottish Government relief will be effective from the 1 April that will reduce non-domestic rates for everyone. Please note, due to the late notice of these changes rates bills will be issued later than normal. In addition, any ratepayer paying by Direct Debit over 12 months (April-March) will have no payment deducted in April this year and will pay over 11 instalments reflecting any entitled relief.

I'm struggling to pay my water bills, what support can I get?

The Scottish Government has agreed a £60m package of measures with the water industry, including Scottish Water's agreement to suspend pre-payment charges for licensed providers for two months, beginning with the April payment. This means providers - who supply water services to businesses – can be flexible with their own customers. The Central Marketing Agency will also assist the market by suspending all performance standard charges to ensure licensed providers can focus on supporting customers. We'll update this answer when more information becomes available.

I am self-employed, what support is there for me?

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now open for claims. Eligible customers will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to 3 months' profits), paid in a single instalment. If you're eligible, you'll be given a date when you can claim between 13 and 18 May. You can check eligibility and your claim date online.

If you are newly self employed (from 06 April 2019) assistance is now available through the Self-Employed Hardship Fund.

The scheme is now being extended. You'll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant in August 2020. .If you're eligible the second and final grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months' worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. Further guidance on the second grant will be published on Friday 12 June.

If you're eligible and want to claim the first grant you must make your claim on or before 13 July 2020.

Where can I get help with my lease on my Falkirk Council business premises?

Falkirk Council's commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will not be subject to any new legal action in terms of their lease for at least 3 months from 25 March 2020. No business will be forced out of their premises if they miss paying rent during this period. Rental invoices and reminders will still be issued by the Council.

Cases will be considered further once the above support measures have been implemented and it is clearer as to the impact on each business. Any rent deferred as a consequence will be part of these discussions with you. Please contact the property team for any further information.

Is there any support for charities, social enterprises or voluntary organisations?

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) - a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland - is now open for applications. The fund has been set up to help third sector organisations stabilise and manage cash flow over this difficult period. For full eligibility details and how to apply visit SCVO Funding.

I work in the creative industries, what support is available to me?

Creative Scotland has launched 3 funding programmes designed to provide support to sustain the country's creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Is there any support for businesses operated by 18-30 year olds?

The Princes Trust Enterprise Relief Fund is available to support 18-30 years olds who have set up their business in the last 4 years.

How can I find out what financial support is currently available to my business?

The UK government has created a support finder tool to help businesses see what support may be available to them.

I am a Private Sector Landlord is there any support for me?

A £5 million fund offering interest free loans to landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent has been announced. This loan scheme offers eligible landlords up to 100% of lost rental income for a single property. Further information including an online application can be accessed via the Scottish Government website.

I operate a Bed & Breakfast is there any support available to my business?

A Bed & Breakfast Hardship Fund is now available for businesses who have not been able to access support through other schemes as a result of banking status. Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £3,000.