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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business Ventilation Fund experimental statistics

A summary of applications, awards and expenditure for the COVID-19 Business Ventilation Fund, including breakdowns by sector and business characteristics.

This document is part of a collection


Introduction and background

A £25 million funding package was announced by the Scottish Government in September 2021 to improve ventilation and reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in small and medium sized business settings.

It was initially aimed at businesses operating in high risk settings such as restaurants, bars and gyms where there was a risk of people coming into very close contact. The eligibility was extended from 4 February 2022 to include medium and low-risk settings, such as essential retail, art galleries and museums. For further details of business eligibility see the Business Ventilation Fund eligibility guidance.

Businesses were invited to undertake a self-assessment of the ventilation within their premises to identify if any improvements could be made and what costs may be claimed back through this fund. Eligible businesses could claim up to £2,500 per premise to cover improvements such as purchasing and installing CO2 monitors and vents or servicing and repairing windows. For a full list and costs see Business Ventilation Fund ventilation item guidance.

The fund was administered by Scottish Government and local authorities and opened to applications from 23 November 2021 to 11 March 2022. Any works or purchases had to be made by 31 March 2022. Claims could be submitted until 15 April 2022.

Data was collected at the premise level, with some businesses applying and receiving awards for multiple premises. The figures presented here are at the premise level. Data is as of 6 June 2022.

Number of applications, awards and payments

The Business Ventilation Fund received 1,363 applications, of which 577 were accepted (42%), 250 were rejected (18%), 514 were closed and 22 were withdrawn (39% were closed or withdrawn). Applications with a status of 'closed' did not provide additional evidence to progress their application before the fund closed on 31 March 2022. Acceptance rates varied between local authorities from 25% in South Ayrshire (24 applications) to 80% in Clackmannanshire (10 applications). See Table 1 and 2 for breakdowns by local authority.

In total £981,130 was paid to recipients of the Business Ventilation Fund, with the largest proportion going to close contact services such as hairdressing and beauty services and massage therapies (£197,681, 20%), followed by hospitality premises (cafes, restaurants, public houses and takeaways, £196,759, 20%) and pharmacies (£168,380, 17%). The average (mean) award amount was £1700. See Table 3 for further breakdowns by sector and subsector.

Application process

Approximately 83% of payments were made within the target four weeks from when the completed application and supporting documentation were received, with an average of about two and a half weeks from documentation receipt to payment. Payments were made from 31 January 2022 to 3 June 2022.

Reasons for application rejections and withdrawals

The most common reasons for rejection were ‘failed business checks’ (67 applications, 27%), ‘not in an eligible sector as declared’ (65 applications, 26%), and ‘invalid/incomplete non-domestic rate number’ (58 applications, 23%). For further details of business eligibility and business checks see the Business Ventilation Fund eligibility guidance.

Of the 22 applications that were withdrawn, the most common reasons were ‘duplicate application’ (13 applications, 59%) and ‘no longer required’ (9 applications, 41%). See Table 8 for reasons for application rejections and withdrawals.

Reviews

Local Authorities received 30 requests from businesses for their application decision to be reviewed, of which 25 decisions were revised (83%) and 5 were upheld (16%), as of 6 June 2022.

Characteristics of premises receiving awards

The majority of premises that received awards were small businesses (1-49 employees, 70%). A smaller proportion of awards were made to sole traders (0 employees, 16%) and medium-sized businesses (50 to 249 employees, 14%). There were a small percentage where the number of employees was unknown (1%). See Table 4 for breakdowns by business size.

Awards were made to businesses across multiple age categories. Over half of awards were made to businesses that had been operating for over 11 years (54%) and 42% were made to businesses operating from 1 to 10 years. Only 4% were made to new businesses that had been in operation for less than a year. See Table 5 for breakdowns by business age.

The majority of awards were made to limited companies (68%) and sole traders (13%). Businesses could be classified as a sole trader according to business size, but also operate as another business type e.g. a limited company. See Table 6 for breakdowns by business type.

Ventilation items purchased

For those premises that received awards, the most common items purchased were air filters/purifiers (20% of items), small mechanical vents/extractor fans (13%) and standalone CO2 monitors (12%).

The most common purchase combination was for CO2 monitoring systems (6 item types, 12% of awards), which included the purchase, installation and monitoring of multiple networked CO2 monitors, with a gateway system and additional sensors and air filters/purifiers. The next most frequent purchase was for air filters/purifiers (1 item type, 11% of awards). See Tables 7a and 7b for breakdowns by ventilation item.

Contents

Please see the excel files linked on this page for the publication data:

Table 1: Amount paid (£) by Local Authority

Table 2: Application status by Local Authority

Table 3: Applications and awards by sector

Table 4: Applications and awards by number of employees

Table 5: Applications and awards by age of business

Table 6: Applications and awards by business type

Table 7a: Ventilation Items purchased

Table 7b: Ventilation item purchase combinations

Table 8: Reasons for application rejections and withdrawals

Footnotes for all tables

An experimental statistics publication for Scotland

Experimental statistics are defined by the Code of Practice for Statistics as 'a subset of newly developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation, that are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in the assessment of their suitability and quality at an early stage'.

More detail on statistical designations is available.

Contact

For enquiries about the publication please contact:

Pippa Stone

COVID-19 Business Support Statistics

Email: Pippa.stone@gov.scot

For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics, please contact: Office of the Chief Statistician, Telephone: 0131 244 0442, e-mail: statistics.enquiries@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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