Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): culture and creative sector support

Support available for those working in the cultural and creative industries.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): culture and creative sector support
General business support

General business support

You can call our business helpline, which is based at Scottish Enterprise, on 0300 303 0660. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

More information on business support can be found at

For information about support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees see the UK Government support for business website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, called ‘furloughed workers’.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers’ wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is in place until the end of October 2020.

Monitor the UK Government website. HMRC will set out more details shortly.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Information for organisations in receipt of public funding

Non-domestic rates relief and grants

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21. This relief will be applied automatically.

A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get Small Business Bonus Scheme relief or Rural Relief. You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief, Business Growth Accelerator Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

An additional £120 million has been made available to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business rate payers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties. This means that small business rate payers will be eligible for a grant of £10,000 on their first property, and £7,500 on subsequent properties.

New arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May 2020.

Monitor your local council’s website for application forms.

Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

Applications for the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund are now closed.

Leisure businesses

There is additional support available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This includes arts centres, galleries, museums, cinemas, music venues, studios, live music venues and theatres.

See the full list of businesses which qualify on the website.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% non-domestic rates relief.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and up to and including £50,999 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000. The rates relief and the grants are delivered by Local Authorities.

If a property, say a theatre, is registered for rates under one of the descriptions within the £25k grant table for retail, leisure or hospitality, then they are eligible to apply for the grant.  Unlike the £10k grant, there are no other conditions (such a certain reliefs) which apply so this would still be the case even if they were a registered charity.

Monitor your local council’s website for details.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans

Small and Medium-sized businesses that have been negatively affected by coronavirus will be able to apply to the UK Government’s Bounce Back Loan scheme.

Eligible businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The UK Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there will be no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Businesses already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will not be eligible.

The scheme is currently open. For more information, please see the UK Government website at:

VAT deferral

The UK Government is deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. More information can be found on the UK Government's support for business page.

Income Tax deferral

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021, depending on your eligibility. You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. More information can be found on the UK Government support for business page.

HMRC Time to Pay

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.You can contact HMRC’s dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice. This can be reached by calling 0800 0159 559.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.

The UK government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

You are eligible for the scheme if:

The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme.

To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited lenders providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan. 

Research Support Service

Scottish Enterprise’s Research Service is providing support to businesses to understand how COVID-19 could affect businesses and their supply chains.

It is providing access to resources to:

  • help identify alternative suppliers, locally or internationally
  • assess potential implications of COVID-19 on different industries
  • explore alternative markets

The Research Service can be contacted via phone, email or through the Scottish Enterprise website. Businesses should provide their company name, details of the information needed, and why it is needed.

Telephone: 0300 013 3385



Access general guidance for businesses, including social distancing.