Applications open for Coronavirus Business Support Fund

Businesses in Fife can now apply for grant support to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Two types of one-off grants are available to businesses paying rates:

 

  •  A £10,000 grant is available to businesses with properties with a rateable value of up to £18,000 which are in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief.  Business who applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme can also apply.

 

  • A £25,000 grant is available for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who have properties with a rateable value of between £18,001 and £50,999.

 

The grants are being administered for Fife by Fife Council on behalf of the Scottish Government.

 

For more information and to apply for a grant visit www.fife.gov.uk/coronavirus-business and click on the Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support dropdown.

 

More information on the support available for owners of non-domestic properties can be found here.

 

Click for more information on the support available to help your business during the pandemic or call the national business support helpline from Monday-Friday on 0300 303 0660.

 

 

Coronavirus support for businesses in Fife

Business Gateway Fife is ready to help Fife businesses during the coronavirus crisis.  It can provide advice and access to immediate support to enable you to continue to trade during this extremely challenging period.

 

Contact Business Gateway Fife at www.businessgatewayfife.com or arrange to speak to an adviser on 01592 858333.

 

There is also a national business support helpline run by Scottish Enterprise on 0300 303 0660.

 

The Scottish Government has also pulled together advice for businesses in Scotland.

 

You can also check what support is available and how it will be delivered on the links listed below.  These might not be comprehensive and but will be updated on a regular basis.

 

UK Government

The announcement on the Gov.uk website lists the various measures available and who is administering them UK Government – guidance to employers and businesses about Covid-19 support – it is comprehensive & updated as they add additional measures.

If you’re self-employed, the UK Government has announced it will support you if you’ve been affected by the pandemic.  Click for more information on the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

 

Relevant to all businesses

Banks and Building Societies can participate in the Bank of England’s Term Funding Scheme announced on 11 March with additional incentives for SMEs TFSME. Companies can ask their funders about the implications for business lending.

 

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 015 9559. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and on Saturday 8am to 4pm.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wage costs of ‘furloughed’ workers (ie workers who have been asked to stop working but have not been made redundant), up to £2,500 per month.

 

If you are either a small or medium sized business, you can access:

FInance from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available through the British Business Bank.  If you are UK based and have a turnover of no more than £45m per year, you can apply for up to £5m of funding.

 

If you are a large business, you may be able access:

The Covid -19 Corporate Financing Facility CCFF is a scheme for larger firms via the Bank of England.  A Market Notice explains some of the detail of how the facility will work CCFF Market Notice. Application forms and pricing will be added to the Bank of England’s website on Monday 23rd.

The Bank will publish a dedicated webpage for corporates seeking to use the CCFF as soon as possible.

 

If you are a small business based in Scotland:

You can access grants and business rate relief.

 

  1. Small Business Bonus and Rural Relief Schemes – additional grant funding
  • If you are based in Scotland and have a total rateable value (the value used to assess the amount of business rates the property owner or leaseholder must pay) up to £35,000, you may be able to access rates relief via the Small Business Bonus Scheme which includes a link to Local Authority websites.
  • If your property is in a designated rural area, with a population below 3,000, you may be eligible for 100% relief from your business rates via Rural Relief
  • If you are eligible for either scheme and your property has a rateable value of up to £18,000, you can apply for an additional £10,000 grant .
  1. Grant funding for hospitality, tourism and retail sector
  • If your property has a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000 you can apply for a £25,000 hospitality, leisure and retail property grant.
  • You may also be eligible for one year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism.

To apply for relief and/or a grant you should complete an application form which can be found at www.fife.gov.uk/corovirus-business – Scottish Government Coronavirus business support fund.

 

Other information

The Association of British Insurers have issued a statement on business insurance cover here and have a COVID-19 Q&A here which includes business insurance, trade credit, income protection and pensions and investments.

 

Pict Offshore plans expansion with Scottish Enterprise support

Fife hoist manufacturer, Pict Offshore, has received a £250k Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant from Scottish Enterprise to expand production at its site in Inverkeithing.

 

The funding is part of a multi-million pound investment by the company to accelerate its R&D development and assembly capabilities to increase production for the offshore wind market.

 

Pict Offshore was formed in May 2019 and is a joint venture between Orsted and Limpet Technology, which had previously been supported by Scottish Enterprise and Strathclyde University to develop the new hoist technology

 

Working with Orsted, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms, Pict Offshore commercialised the ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) system – a motion compensated personnel hoist.

 

The hoist, which won an innovation award at the Scottish Green Awards in December 2019, allows technicians  to transfer on and off turbines more safely, thus increasing the competitiveness of offshore wind energy.

 

Assembly of the hoists will take place in Inverkeithing and Pict Offshore aims to create 13 new highly-skilled jobs during 2020 and to start placing orders with the local supply chair.

 

Announcing the RSA award, Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “I am pleased to see this RSA award.  Indeed we want to encourage and enable other offshore wind developers and Scottish supply chain companies to adopt a similar partnership to Orsted and Pict Offshore.

 

“If this collaborative approach was more widely adopted in the sector, it would be a very positive step towards increasing the level of local content in projects for Scotland and further afield.”

 

Click for more information about RSA grants and to find out if you’re eligible for support.

Scottish Government announces £320m support package for businesses during coronavirus outbreak

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland were announced by Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, on Saturday (14 March).

 

The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:

 

  • A 75% rates relief for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020.
  • An £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19 .
  • A 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020.
  • A fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020.

 

A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 has also been announced by Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop.

 

The helpline number, which is now live, is 0300 303 0660 and will be open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm.

 

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s existing call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19.

 

The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.

 

Click for more information on the government’s package of support

 

Business Gateway has launched a dedicated page with the latest information and advice for business owners on Coronavirus.

 

Alternatively arrange to speak to an adviser at Business Gateway Fife on 01502 858333.

Fife Business Leaders Meet Scottish Minister

JAMIE HEPBURN MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, recently enjoyed a breakfast meeting with members of the Fife Economy Partnership.

 

(L to R) Michael Longstaffe (FEP Chair), Jamie Hepburn MSP, Cllrs David Ross, Cllr David Alexander and Gordon Mole (Fife Council)

Mr Hepburn met with members of the partnership and representatives from the Fife Chamber of Commerce to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing businesses in Fife after Brexit.

 

Topics discussed included the future of Fife’s Developing the Young Workforce programme, working to better preparing children and young people for the world of work.

 

The support available to businesses to continue to trade and access new markets and appropriately skilled labour whilst the UK leaves the EU were also discussed, along with how companies can be helped to respond to the climate change emergency.

 

Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership, Michael Longstaffe, said: “We enjoyed a positive discussion with Mr Hepburn, during which we discussed how the Scottish Government can help business in Fife post-Brexit.”

 

Mr Longstaffe continued: “The Partnership was delighted that Mr Hepburn took the time to meet with so many from the business community in Fife.  We should all value the meetings we have with senior Government Ministers and the dialogue these sessions give us with the Scottish Government.

 

“The meeting gave us a clear opportunity to update the Minister on current challenges facing businesses in Fife and we appreciated that.”

Two Fife sites shortlisted for Heathrow logistics hubs

Two sites in Rosyth have made the final shortlist for Heathrow expansion logistics hubs.

 

The shortlist, announced today (28 March) narrows down the list of ten possible sites in Scotland to four.  The two Fife sites are both in Rosyth –  at Babcock and Forth Ports.

 

Welcoming the news, Cllr David Alexander, co-leader of Fife Council said: “This is great news for Fife.  Being part of this pioneering project would not only bring many jobs, but also upskill our communities with a world-class construction legacy for generations to come.”

 

Cllr David Ross, co-leader of Fife Council added: “Fife is an unrivalled position, having two out of four Scottish sites in contention for this investment.  We look forward to working with partners in making a strong case, building on Fife’s key role in recent major infrastructure schemes like the Queensferry Crossing.

 

“Both Fife sites offer excellent transport links, great infrastructure and competitive land along with a strong and innovative supply chain of local companies.  With work scheduled to start in 2021, if implemented this project will bring huge benefits to industry and business here.”

 

Heathrow’s expansion is the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of logistics hubs and aims to create jobs in every corner of the UK while creating a legacy of construction excellence in the UK for future generations.  The hubs will work by pre-assembling components off-site before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow when needed.

 

Sean Donaldson, Managing Director of Babcock’s Rosyth facility said:

 

“We welcome the news that Babcock has been shortlisted for the Heathrow Logistics Hub.

 

“Babcock’s manufacturing and logistics capabilities at our world-class infrastructure in Rosyth stands ready to provide an efficient, affordable and sustainable solution to meet Heathrow’s varying demands.

 

“We look forward to the next stage in this process to deliver a programme of work that will ‘make every journey better’ and help Heathrow maintain a world-leading position as a hub airport.”

 

Derek Knox, Senior Port Manager, Port of Rosyth:

 

“The Port of Rosyth is very pleased to have been shortlisted for the next stage of the process for the Heathrow Expansion Logistics Hub. In Rosyth we offer a great location, land and expertise for a logistics hub of this scale.

 

There has been recent significant investment in the port and it played a key role as the logistics hub for the construction project of the new Queensferry Crossing. We look forward to hearing from the Heathrow team about the next stage of the process.”

 

Click for more information and to see all shortlisted sites.

Green light for Fife Industrial Project signals 1,600 new jobs

City Region Deal announces £35 million funding.

Up to 1,600 new jobs are set to be created across Fife after £35 million funding was awarded to a visionary industrial regeneration project.

 

The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment programme will support the creation of 1,000 new skilled permanent jobs and alomst 600 short-term construction jobs.

 

Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal’s Joint Committee approved the £35 million investment in the long-term transformative programme for Fife on Friday (1st March).

 

The project will also deliver an estimated 130,000 sq ft of new offices, industrial space and new storage/distribution facilities.  These have been designed to draw in a diverse range of industries and encourage more businesses to locate and grow in the region, supporting the wider economy.

 

In addition to the £35 million funding through the City Region Deal, the Fife Industrial Innovation Investment programme will be bolstered by a further £9.2 million of funding from Fife Council.  Proceeds from sales of service employment land will bring the total investment in the programme to £48.4 million.

 

Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Ross, said: “The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment Programme is part of our commitment to build modern business premises to facilitate private sector investment to ensure that Fife’s economy is firmly fit for the future.”

 

Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander, added: “This initiative will significantly increase the supply of new industrial, office and business space in Fife.  This will be achieved through direct investment by the council in its existing land holdings, and new acquisitions, as well as working with private sector land owners and developers to leverage additional investment and funding into Fife and the City Region.

 

“This programme builds on previous investment in site infrastructure, such as the Kincardine Training and Enterprise Hub, Levenmouth Business Park and new Business Units at Queensway, Glenrothes.”

 

The City Region Deal investment will be over 10 years and underpins its commitment to supporting long-term approaches to improving regional economies.

 

Infrastructure Secretary, Michael Matheson said: “Using £300 million of Scottish Government investment, the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is designed to deliver inclusive economic growth, providing opportunities and distributing the benefits fairly across the entire region.

 

“The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment programme will utilise £35 million of funding from the Scottish Government through the deal and is especially exciting, as it plans to facilitate partnership working with the region’s universities and business community. This joined up approach will ensure that the area benefits from the investment made elsewhere in the deal to spread high value jobs across the Kingdom of Fife. I would like to thank those involved for the work undertaken to get to this position which ensures that we can quickly capitalise on the opportunity that the City Region Deal has provided.”

 

Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, said:“There is good progress being made on the City Region Deal projects.  The UK Government is investing £300 million in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal to deliver transformational change, opportunities and inclusive growth to the region.  It’s important that we build on our existing strengths, maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation, and create jobs for the future – that is why we’ve so far committed £1.3 billion to city and growth deals across Scotland.”

 

Additional projects approved by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee were the Central Borders Innovation Park, three skills programmes which will operate across the region, and an investment in the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

 

The City Region Deal, which was signed last year, secures £1.3 billion of investment for the city region over the next 15 years. It includes the UK Government, Scottish Government, and local authorities of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the region’s universities and partners.

 

 

 

 

New Business Space for Dalgety Bay and South West Fife

Fife Council has started work on the construction of new business units at Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate (HADIE), signalling the start of further regeneration and economic recovery work by the Longannet Task Force in South West Fife.

 

Cllr Altany Craik visits the site of the new business units

HADIE is well-located and has always been popular with businesses, given its proximity to the trunk road network and railway stations.

 

The development proposal comprises six business units, along with an access road, car parking and landscaping.  The new units will range in size, providing a total of 800 sqm of new business space to help meet the demand within the local market for modern, fit-for-purpose business accommodation in this key location.

 

The project has been made possible due to the Longannet Task Force which has secured funding from the Scottish Government Local Economic Development Capital Stimulus Fund and the Big Lottery Coastal Communities Fund.  The development of the proposed units will mark a significant milestone in Fife Council’s long term commitment to the regeneration of HADIE, in addition to acting as a catalyst for future business investment and jobs growth locally.

 

South West Fife was heavily impacted when Longannet Power Station closed prematurely in mid-2016.  This project – along with other recent initiatives, including the opening of an Enterprise Hub in Kincardine – will help to ensure that the area thrives once more.

 

The project, which is being delivered by Fife Council, will offer new business units for rent from late 2019.  Enquiries on pre-letting are welcomed via business.property@fife.gov.uk

 

Cllr Altany Craik, Convener of Fife Council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee, said: “These new units are targeted at existing and new businesses, whether they are already in Fife or looking to locate within the Kingdom.  We have been working on regenerating this area, and the whole of South West Fife, delivering modern business units to meet the changing needs for the 21st century.”

 

Cllr Alice McGarry, Convener of Fife Council’s South West Fife Area Committee added: “I’m delighted that support from the Longannet Task Force, has allowed us to speed up our plans for continued regeneration at Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate. The new business units will be a welcome addition locally and will help ensure that vacant or under-used parts of the estate are productive once more.”

 

Fife Council launches new Business Charter

A new business charter that aims to promote local jobs, apprenticeships and payment of the living wage has been launched.

 

The charter, which also sets out how Fife Council will support the region’s businesses, outlines the part businesses can play in making sure the benefits of Fife’s economic growth are shared by all.

 

Companies in Fife are being encouraged to adopt the Fife Business Charter which aims to promote the creation of employment and training opportunities for local residents, including those with disabilities. It also encourages businesses to work with schools to support learning and career opportunities for local children.

 

Fife Councillors and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership launch the new charter along with representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses and Fife Chamber of Commerce.

At the launch of the Charter, Cllr David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council said: “This Business Charter signals our commitment to a new way of working to ensure that we work with Fife businesses to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Kingdom in order to create a Fairer Fife.

 

“Businesses are increasingly judged on their values and corporate responsibility policies and adopting the charter is a fantastic way of demonstrating your company’s commitments to those values.”

 

The Charter backs the Council’s drive to develop a Fairer Fife to reduce inequalities and encourages businesses to:

  • Commit to local recruitment and employment
  • Adhere to the principles of fair work and pay
  • Make a commitment to actively support and invest in the community
  • Create employment and training opportunities for local and young people
  • Promote greater inclusion for people with physical and mental health issues.

 

Having recently won the title of ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ Fife Council remains committed to supporting Fife’s businesses.

 

Co-Leader Cllr David Alexander explained: “The Charter is also designed to make contact with the council easier and more effective.

 

“It sets out what the council will do to help all the region’s businesses whatever their size and sector and signposts them to where they can receive advice and support to both start-up and grow.

 

“It commits the council to procuring as many of its goods and services from Fife suppliers as possible and outlines how we will help businesses comply with statutory requirements.”

 

The Charter was developed in conjunction with the Fife Economy Partnership, Fife Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses.

 

Michael Longstaffe, Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership said: “The Fife Economy Partnership, along with Fife’s two main business networks – the Fife Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses – welcome this business charter and the council’s commitment to supporting businesses of all sizes and sectors.

 

“We encourage businesses to check out this new charter, take up the council’s offers of support, and show their commitment to supporting inclusive economic growth in the region by taking the Fairer Fife Pledge and by signing up to the Scottish Business Charter.”

 

The Charter can be found at https://businesscharter.fife.scot.

Fife Council welcomes town centre funding from the Scottish Government

Fife is to benefit from a new £50 million Scottish Government fund to improve struggling town centres.

 

Fife Council is to be the largest beneficiary of The Town Centre Fund, which is to be distributed amongst all 32 local authorities to finance a wide range of investments to make town centres more vibrant, enterprising and accessible.

 

Convener of the Council’s Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee, Cllr Altany Craik, welcomed the announcement saying: “Our recent budget called for more funding from the Scottish Government to support our efforts and I’m pleased this request has been answered with this announcement.

 

“The Scottish Government has recognised the importance of investing in Fife’s town centres by allocating over £4.3 million for Fife.

 

“The funding will be used to support our town centres to become more diverse and sustainable and to increase footfall through local improvements and partnerships.

 

“This new fund complements wider support for town centres available through Scotland’s Towns Partnerships.  Fife Council works closely with the Partnership and will look at both quick wins and longer-terms strategic plans for its town centres.

 

“We will look to focus this funding on Mid-Fife, where we are developing an action plan and working closely with partners and communities to ensure that its town centres have a vibrant and essential role in supporting future economic and housing growth.

 

“Across the UK, town centres are facing persistent and serious challenges as consumer behaviour and economic changes cause difficulties in filling retail units and higher vacancy rates.  This is not just a Fife issue – it is a UK issue.

 

“We are 100% committed to supporting the evolution of town centres, particularly where challenges have been more pronounced. For example, in Kirkcaldy, we’re working closely with the local Business Improvement District, Kirkcaldy4All, business owners, property managers and organisations such as the Kirkcaldy Ambitions Partnership to deliver an enhanced town centre experience for shoppers and visitors.”

 

Click for more information about the fund.