Chancellor extends support for businesses

The Chancellor, Riski Sunak, is today (Friday 3 April) taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.


More than £90 million of loans to nearly 1,000 small and medium sized firms have been approved under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) since its launch last week.  And a government-backed scheme to provide financing to larger companies, being operated by the Bank of England, has also already provided almost £1.9 billion of support for firms and further £1.6 billion has been committed.


To maximise the support available, the Chancellor is extending the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19, not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will be eligible for loans.


The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals.  The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.


A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBIS) will be launched later this month to provide loans for larger firms.


The new Scheme will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.  Further details of this new scheme will be announced in April.


Click to read the full announcement.


An SME? Click for more information on how to apply for a loan for from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund Update

Grant support is available to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19.


In Fife the one-off grants – designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovered – are being administered by Fife Council on behalf of the Scottish Government.


The Council is currently processing the applications it has received and will start paying the £10k and £25k grants on 7 April.


Currently only 30% of applications received have been fully completed.  To ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible, the council is advising businesses to ensure that their grant claim is properly completed and provides all relevant business details and required documents.


To help you complete your application,  the council has put together some useful FAQs


Two types of grant are available to ratepayers under the Coronavirus Business Support Scheme:


  • £10,000 grants – ratepaying businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme of Rural Relief with a property with a rateable value of up to £18,000 are eligible to apply for this grant. You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief, Fresh Start Relief and Business Growth Accelerator but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.


  • £25,000 grants – for retail, hospitality and leisure ratepaying businesses with property which has a rateable value of between £18,001 and £50,999 .


For more information on all the support available for Fife businesses, along with guidance and advice visit:

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 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 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 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 – 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.”

Fife businesses set to benefit from pioneering Data-Driven Innovation programme

Fife businesses have started on a journey that will enable them to reap the vast benefits of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) programme that is set to boost economic growth. Business leaders and managers from across Fife recently attended an industry event on how best to drive improvement through data on 26 February, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Inverkeithing.


Jarmo Eskelinen, Director of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative and Gordon Mole, Head of Service – Business & Employability, Fife Council

Delegates were given new insights into how data can expand the contribution of research to the region’s economy, and increase entrepreneurial activity. Fife businesses were also shown how companies are already using data technologies to enhance commercial performance and the profound impact  data innovation is making across diverse sectors.


Jarmo Eskelinen, Director of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, shared his experience of working with businesses, universities and city leaders in the UK and Finland to drive improvement and tackle their growth challenges with data.


The 15- year £661m Data-Driven Innovation programme is a key part of the City Region Deal, and is designed to reach out to the whole City Region, so that businesses, public sector bodies and other organisations can use data to improve productivity and develop new products and services.


The University of Edinburgh is collaborating with Heriot-Watt University to create five DDI ‘hubs’ targeting 10 industry sectors across the public, private and third sectors – from creative industries and healthcare to fintech and robotics. The ambitious programme is designed transform the city region into the Data Capital of Europe through better data skills. It aims to train 100,000 people in data skills over the next decade, from computer science specialists to traditional jobs that will increasingly use data.


Gordon Mole, Head of Service- Business and Employability, Fife Council, said: “We are starting to explore the potential for Data Driven Innovation to improve our region’s economy by creating more and better jobs, improving services, while helping some companies to start-up and others to grow.


“This ground-breaking City Region Deal Data-Driven Innovation initiative is enabling a diverse range of organisations to develop and test new services to meet the needs of our communities.


“A number of businesses looked into how  data can ensure continuous improvement in your business, and drive economic growth, social change and public services.”


Jarmo Eskelinen, Director of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, said: “The DDI Programme is committed to supporting local businesses as they experiment and embed data driven innovation into their business processes. This pilot project will allow Fife Council and the University of Edinburgh to support the input of cutting-edge research and expertise into Fife-based businesses, through a new integrated approach to innovation funding support. There is already interest from other City Region local authority partners to trial the approach if this pilot is successful.”


Through this, and other events, the City Region Deal will ensure that organisations from across the region fully benefit from the fast-developing field of Data-Driven Innovation and drive innovation through big data and artificial intelligence.


It is estimated that Scotland needs around 13,000 extra workers each year with data skills as the workplace transforms. Together, the two universities will increase the provision of data science teaching for their students, and support schools and colleges across the region to provide digital skills teaching and training. The region’s supercomputing capabilities will also be strengthened with investment in a data analysis facility, which will help 1,000 organisations use data to innovate.


Companies attending the event included CoorsTek Ltd, Diageo, FLEXcon, Subsea International Ltd, Scott Group, Interface and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS).


For more information about the programme and how you could get involved, email Morag Millar, Fife Council’s Strategic Growth & City Deal Programme Manager –

Fife paper bag specialist makes £3 million investment

Smith Anderson – the UK’s largest manufacturer of paper bags – has invested £3 million in state-of-the-art machinery to increase capacity at its factory in Kirkcaldy.


The investment, which includes a £450,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise, will allow the company to increase capacity and target new customers.

Smith Anderson, founded in 1859 with the purchase of the Fettykil Paper Mill in Leslie, will create 22 new jobs as part of an investment project, ensuring it remains the market-leading paper bag manufacturer in both Scotland and Europe.


Speaking after a visit to the company yesterday (Wednesday 26 February), Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn said: “Not only will this grant support jobs in Fife, it will also allow Smith Anderson to achieve more cost-effective production and increase their capacity, thanks to thie new start-of-the-art machinery.


“It’s crucial that we continue to invest in our manufacturing industry and support innovation across Scotland to grow the economy, which we’re doing through the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland initiative.”


The machinery investment will allow Smith Anderson to deliver even more cost-effective production whilst increasing foundational machine capacity and operational output.


It will also allow the company, which now employs 243 staff, to target new customers as well as ensuring it meets the constantly increasing demands of its existing clients.


Smith Anderson’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Longstaffe, said: “After a number of extremely challenging years, during which we continued to invest, we can now celebrate the arrival of this new equipment.  It consolidates our European market-leading position, encourages growth and supports the hard work and dedication we enjoy from what is a fabulous ‘Team Smith Anderson’.


“I am extremely proud of the company, what we have achieved and how well we have been supported by Scottish Enterprise in this process.”


Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) funding is a discretionary grant aimed at helping projects that will create or protect jobs in Scotland.  Click for more information and to find out if you are eligible to apply.



Longannet redevelopment moves forward as council welcomes TALGO UK

Fife Council welcomed  Spanish train manufacturer TALGO UK  at a community event at Kincardine Community Centre on 19 February.


From L to R Cllr David Alexander, John Veitch (MD of TALGO UK), Shirley-Anne Sommerville MSP, Carlos de Palacio (President & Chairman of TALGO UK) and Cllr David Ross.

The company, which continues to make plans for a major train manufacturing plant at Longannet, showcased one of TALGO’s 205kph coaches, featuring world-beating and unique ‘Rodal’ technology.


In October 2019, TALGO signed a jointly agreed framework with Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland to establish Longannet as a manufacturing base for TALGO UK.


Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Ross, said: “The Longannet site is nationally significant and critically important locally. TALGO UK’s plans build upon the work of the Longannet Taskforce, whose focus has been to support the wider regeneration of the area following the power station’s closure in 2016.


“This location, which has driven past industrial revolutions, will once again be a catalyst towards business activity that drives a renewed innovation-led economy.”


TALGO UK intends to reinvigorate the UK supply-chain and source from it wherever possible.  TALGO’s ‘True Manufacturing’ approach means that, instead of assembling from kits of parts from overseas, a UK supply-chain is used.  This protects more local jobs and keeps more money in the local, regional and UK economies.


TALGO UK is keen to ensure that the benefits of TALGO’s unique technology is better appreciated, and that local people are aware of the potential opportunities in the area.


Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander, added: “Fife Council welcomes this latest step forward in creating employment and economic opportunities in Kincardine and beyond.


“Approximately 74 hectares of the site are available for investors into the Kingdom and will boost the economy within South and West Fife and across the wider region.


“Around 1,000 highly skilled jobs are expected to be created at Longannet. The Longannet site and its infrastructure connections will also give rise to significant opportunities across the wider area.”


The plans to regenerate the site of Scotland’s last coal-fuelled power station also support the Fife Council’s wider aim of reducing carbon emissions.


TALGO is bringing its technology to the UK, as part of a programme to explain new technologies, to transfer knowledge to the UK and to boost UK domestic capacity for Research and Development.