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Covid-19 Response: Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

Eligible sole traders will be able to apply for a one-off £2,000 grant under this new scheme.

This scheme is for Scotland only and is being managed by local authorities, similar to the property-based grants. As such, one of the qualifying conditions is residence in a Scottish council area, and it will be the council area that you live in that will process your grant claim.

Highland Council has an initial fund of £812,433, which equates to 406 grants (and a spare £433!). To be eligible to claim you must meet a strict list of criteria, set out below. Any negative answers will mean an application will not be possible.

  • You must have become self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 (i.e. you did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018/19)
  • Over 50% of your income is from self-employment
  • You must be trading below £50,000 of profits in the 2019/2020 financial year
  • You must be able to provide evidence of trading up to March 2020 and intend to continue trading in the tax year 2020/21
  • You must have lost business due to coronavirus and experience personal financial hardship as a result
  • You must be ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support (including all of the other loan and grant schemes and business rates relief)
  • You are not yet in receipt of state benefits payments (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
  • You must be trading as a sole trader (partners in a partnership and limited company directors will not qualify)
  • You must have taken steps to limit costs and expenditure (including through schemes such as VAT deferral and seeking a mortgage payment holiday)
  • You do not have access to sufficient savings or other sources of income to meet basic needs (this is not defined as it will depend on your own circumstances, how many dependents you have, etc)

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

When applying you will need to provide electronic copies of the following so either download them as pdf files or take good quality pictures using a mobile device:

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport or photo driving licence)
  • Proof of address (e.g. recent council tax or utility bill)
  • Bank statements for either a business or personal account showing transactions involving your self-employment; these will need to cover 3 months of the year to March 2020 and must show account name, sort code and account number
  • Two other items proving active trading during the year to March 2020 (e.g. documents from an active trade account, business insurance documents, correspondence showing HMRC UTR, VAT certificate, business marketing materials)

Highland Council's application can be found here: Highland Council NSEHF

April 30, 2020

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