Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) local restrictions grants: local council and enterprise agency guidance

Published: 14 May 2021
Last updated: 29 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Information for local councils and enterprise agencies on financial support for specific businesses impacted by the decision to retain restriction levels.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) local restrictions grants: local council and enterprise agency guidance
Weddings and events sector

Weddings and events sector

This document provides Guidance to Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and VisitScotland (“Enterprise Agencies”) regarding the delivery of additional financial support to businesses in both the wedding and events sector which have been impacted by decisions made by the Scottish Government on 2 June and 22 June to delay the easing of restrictions.

On 2 June 2021 the Scottish Government announced the following Local Authorities would remain in Protection Level 2 restrictions in response to rates of COVID-19:

  • Clackmannanshire
  • Dundee
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Midlothian
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Renfrewshire
  • South Ayrshire
  • South Lanarkshire
  • Stirling

This was followed by a further announcement on 22 June 2021 stating that all local authorities would be kept at their current Protection Levels (PL) for an additional three-week period from 28 June with a review taking place on 13 July. In response to these announcements, the Scottish Government made additional financial support available for businesses in the wedding and events businesses that are subject to ongoing restrictions at PLs 1 and 2 as a result of the extension of the Routemap. As such businesses in PL2 will receive a top up payment to cover an additional six week period of restrictions and those in PL1 will receive additional support to cover a three week period.

This top up payment funding will be made available through powers conferred by Sections 126 and 127 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

This document has no statutory basis, is offered without prejudice to relevant legislation and legal decisions, and does not constitute legal advice.

The document aims to inform a mutual understanding amongst enterprise agencies practitioners engaged in the administration of these top up payments. It includes specific information relating to the top up payments.

Given their responsibilities for managing public funds, it is for the enterprise agencies to ensure that procedures for administering the top up payments are suitably robust, including due diligence to mitigate fraud and for audit purposes.

The enterprise agencies are expected to seek recovery of overpayments including pressing criminal charges where necessary, if fraudulent claims are found. They will not be held financially liable for overpayments associated with fraud and error.

How top up payments will be provided

Wedding businesses

Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise will administer the top up payments and will be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible wedding businesses. The Scottish Government will fund these agencies to make these payments.  Top up payments will be payable as one lump-sum.

Eligibility for support through this fund is predicated on whether a business has previously been in receipt of financial support through the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund. The size of the top up payment for individual businesses will be based on the level of restrictions in place in their local authority area and their annual turnover. The enterprise agencies are not therefore required to set up a separate application process for this fund. 

Events businesses

VisitScotland will administer the top up payments and will be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible events businesses. The Scottish Government will fund VisitScotland to make these payments.  Top up payments will be payable as one lump-sum.

Eligibility for support through this fund is predicated on whether a business has previously been in receipt of financial support through one of the Events Industry Support Funds or the Pivotal Events Businesses Fund.  The size of grant awards for individual businesses will be based on the level of restrictions in place in their local authority area and their annual turnover. VisitScotland is not therefore required to set up a separate application process.

Due diligence, monitoring and reporting requirements

The Scottish Government will require the enterprise agencies to supply agreed management information on the number of eligible businesses; awards made and the number of and amounts of actual payments made.

The first management information, including number of businesses supported and value of awards made will be requested on 27 August for a response by noon on 31 August 2021, with regular information requested thereafter.  It is important that the management information provided should be accurate and reflect the position as at 27 August 2021.

Eligibility Criteria for Businesses in Protection Level 1

A one-off top up is payable based on the following criteria:

  • a business previously in receipt of a grant from the Scottish Wedding Industry Support Fund (see core criteria) administered by the enterprise agencies with a registered business address in a local authority area subject to PL1 restrictions from 28 June 2021.
  • an events business previously in receipt of a grant from one of the Events Industry Support Fund (see Annexes B and C for core criteria) or Pivotal Events Businesses Fund (see Annex D for core criteria) administered by VisitScotland with a registered business address in a local authority area subject to PL1 restrictions from 28 June 2021

See the Protection Levels in place by Local Authority area as at 5 June.

Core eligibility criteria

Only businesses that are trading as at 28 June 2021 are eligible for a payment through either of these funds.

Top Up Levels for Businesses in Protection Level 1

Wedding and events businesses that meet the eligibility criteria and are located in an area subject to PL1 restrictions from 28 June will receive the following top up to cover the three week period of additional restrictions which ran from 28 June 2021 until 19 July:

  • £250 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £10,000 and £49,999
  • £500 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £50,000 and £99,999
  • £750 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £100,000 and £249,999
  • £1,250 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover of more than £250,000

Top Up Levels for Businesses in Protection Level 2

Wedding and events businesses that meet the eligibility criteria will receive the following top up to cover the six week period of additional restrictions which ran from 5 June 2021 to 19 July 2021:

  • £500 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £10,000 and £49,999
  • £1000 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £50,000 and £99,999
  • £1500 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £100,000 and £249,999
  • £2,500 top up for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover of more than £250,000

Subsidy control considerations

Applicants are required to declare all previous support received from UK or Scottish or Local Government support schemes to provide local authorities with the necessary information to ensure payments are made correctly and compliant with EC State Aid and subsidy control limits.

The EU State Aid rules no longer apply to subsidies granted in the UK following the end of the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020. This does not impact the limited circumstances in which State Aid rules still apply under the Withdrawal Agreement, specifically Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The United Kingdom remains bound by its international commitments, including subsidy obligations set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EUBEIS Guidance for public authorities explaining the subsidies chapter of the TCA, World Trade Organisation rules on subsidies, and other international commitments is available.

The Council will need to ensure that any funding awarded after 31 December 2020 is compliant with the UK’s international commitments arising from membership of the World Trade Organisation or through the UK’s various Free Trade Agreements, including the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Further guidance on the application of these agreements is provided by the Department of Business, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills.

Scottish Wedding Industry Fund & Events Sector Support Fund - Tax Implications

Top up income received by an individual or business is taxable. Top ups payable under the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund or Events Sector Support Fund will need to be included as income in the tax return of the individual or business.

Only individuals or businesses that make an overall profit once top up income is included will be subject to tax.

Payments will fall into the 2021/22 tax year. Unincorporated businesses will be taxed when they receive the grant income.

Interaction with benefit entitlements

Top up income through the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund or Events Sector Support Fund - will be regarded as capital by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Recipients of financial support through this fund who are also in receipt of working age benefits must declare the grant to the Department of Work and Pensions in order to have it taken into account when calculating their benefit entitlements.

Core Eligibility Criteria: Scottish Wedding Industry Support Fund

Businesses had to be in one of the following sectors;

  • Venues
  • Videographers
  • Photographers
  • Marquee Hire (includes tipi)
  • Wedding Attire
  • Florists & Event Stylists
  • Caterers
  • Cakes
  • Transport (not including taxis)
  • Event Supplies (Cater hire, decorative items)
  • Hairdressers & Make-up Artists (Non-mobile)
  • Entertainment (Band, DJ, Piper, String Quartet)
  • Jewelry Designers/Makers/Sellers
  • Wedding Exhibitions/Events
  • Wedding Publications or Listing Sites
  • Celebrants
  • Wedding Stationery
  • Other Specialist Niche Suppliers (Photo Booth, Event nannies, event planners etc)

To be eligible for this fund, the wedding business had to be:

  • Be operating in Scotland with a Scottish trading address
  • Have started trading on or before 31 December 2019
  • Have been generating an annual turnover of at least £10,000 before March 2020 (or on a pro rata basis if you hadn’t been trading a full year by March 2020)
  • Be a micro, small or medium enterprise as defined by the European Commission definitions.
  • Be your main income (if you’re a sole trader). People with full time employment who occasionally provide products or services to the wedding industry will not be eligible
  • Have been generating at least 50% of its income from wedding bookings before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Have lost at least 50% of its overall turnover due to the pandemic
  • Intend on continuing to trade in the wedding industry after the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Not have received a one-off £25,000 payment from the Hospitality Sector Top-Up Payment (this is the amount given to businesses with a Non-Domestic Rates rateable value of £51,000 or over). If you have received this automated payment, you will have been notified within the last few weeks

Core Eligibility Criteria: Events Industry Support Fund

Organisations seeking to support had to meet and evidence the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Confirm that the place of business is in Scotland;
  2. Confirm that the business supplies to, organisation of, and/or delivery of or to Events (as defined in “Eligible Events Businesses” section below) in Scotland represents a minimum of 40% of their earnings in 2019/20; Note: if a business is a sole trader, please consider their total earnings for 2019/20. If a business is a company, please refer to the business receipts of the business named on the application form when determining whether it supplies to Events in Scotland and represents a minimum of 40% of earnings in 2019/20.
  3. Confirm that the 40% of earnings referred to in criteria 2 is derived from an “Eligible Business Type” listed in Table 2 above and identify the “Eligible Business Type”;
  4. Confirm that the business’ earnings derived from the Events in Scotland outlined in criteria numbers 2 and 3 in 2019/20 are over £10,000;
  5. Confirm that the business has not received funding from any other Scottish Government support package;
  6. Must not have been in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019; and
  7. If successful, must sign up to the grant award terms and conditions.

Eligible Events Businesses:

The Fund was established to support businesses whose primary source of earnings (minimum 40% in 19/20) is derived from the supply to, organisation of, and/or delivery of or to Events in Scotland. For the purposes of this Fund, “Events” were defined as (i) business / MICE events (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions); and/or (ii) cultural and sporting events and festivals which are open to the public.

Eligible Business Types

  • Events Medical Services
  • Health & Safety Provision for Events
  • Audio Visual and Technology
  • Staging and Temporary Seating
  • Event Equipment Hire
  • Temporary Event Utilities
  • Production Services for events
  • Marquee Hire
  • Event and production Crew
  • Event organiser / producer / promoter
  • Events Freelancers
  • Catering
  • Security
  • Event Transport
  • Accreditation Solutions
  • Event Merchandise
  • Photography
  • Ticketing
  • Marketing and PR
  • Design and Print
  • Venue Dressing
  • Activity Providers
  • Exhibition Services (including trades people, electricians, joiners)
  • Florists
  • PCO - Professional Conference Organisers
  • DMC - Destination Management Companies
  • Tour Guide / Operator for event groups
  • Translation Services for event groups

Businesses who were successful in receiving a grant award through the Event Industry Support Fund launched in August 2020 will not be eligible for funding through the Events Industry Support Fund 2.

Core Eligibility Criteria: Events Industry Support Fund 2

Organisations seeking support had to meet and evidence the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Confirm that you have a permanent place of business in Scotland.
  2. Confirm that your business is an Eligible Events Business as set out in Table 1 above.
  3. Confirm that either your supply to, organisation of, and/or delivery of or to events (as set out above in the section ‘Who is this Fund for?’) or your exporting of Scottish events expertise represents a minimum of 25% of your total earnings from all activities in 19/20; [Note: if you are a sole trader, please consider your total earnings for 19/20. If you are company, please refer to the business receipts for the business named on the application form when determining whether your supply to events represents a minimum of 25% of earnings in 19/20].
  4. Confirm that the 25% of earnings referred to in criteria 2 is derived from an “Eligible Event Type” listed in Appendix A.
  5. Confirm that your total earnings from Eligible Event Types for 19/20 as set out in the corresponding filed accounts or self-assessment return (which represent pre-COVID-19 activity) is more than £10,000.
  6. Confirm that you have not received a grant award from EISF launched in August 2020.
  7. The business must not have been in financial difficulty as of 31 December 2019 if you are a SME or Large organisation (please see the Subsidy Control section in the Guidance document for more information).

Eligible Events Businesses:

  • Events Medical Services
  • Accreditation Solutions
  • Health & Safety Provision for Events
  • Event Merchandise
  • Audio Visual and Technology
  • Photography
  • Staging and Temporary Seating
  • Ticketing
  • Event Equipment Hire
  • Marketing and PR
  • Temporary Event Utilities
  • Design and Print
  • Production Services for Events
  • Venue Dressing
  • Marquee Hire
  • Activity Providers
  • Event and Production Crew
  • Exhibition Services
  • Event Organiser / Producer / Promoter
  • Florists
  • Events Freelancers
  • PCO - Professional Conference Organisers
  • Catering
  • DMC - Destination Management Companies
  • Security
  • Tour Guide / Operator for Event Groups
  • Event Transport
  • Translation Services for Event Groups

Businesses who were successful in receiving a grant award through the Event Industry Support Fund launched in August 2020 were not be eligible for funding through the Events Industry Support Fund 2.

Core Eligibility Criteria: Pivotal Event Businesses Fund

This Fund supported organisations that are pivotal to the events sector in Scotland and who are experiencing critical financial problems that threaten insolvency or significant job losses due to the impact of COVID-19, and where their financial status at the end of the 20/21 tax year is projected to be worse that it was at the end of the 19/20 tax year (pre-COVID-19).

‘Pivotal’ is intended to mean those events businesses who operate at a size and scale in their sector and/or location where the loss or insolvency of that business would have a significant and detrimental impact on Scotland’s ability to continue to host and stage major events.

The definition of ‘event businesses’ for the purposes of this Fund, is those organisations directly involved in the staging or delivery of live sporting and cultural events and festivals taking place outdoors or indoors, and which are open to the public to attend, participate in or spectate safely. In addition, this Fund is for organisations instrumental in attracting, hosting or supporting major discretionary business events, incentives and conferences.

Organisations seeking support had to meet and evidence the following eligibility criteria:

Minimum Threshold Requirement

Event Organiser

Supply Chain Business

Venue

Turnover from latest filed accounts which represent pre-COVID activity – (note this is NET scales)

£500k

£500k

£500k

FTE Staff employed in Scotland in March 2020 (Pre-COVID)

3 FTE+

10 FTE+

30 FTE+

Number of events in Scotland delivered/supplied into in financial year April 2019 – March 2020 (Pre-COVID)

5+

50+

50+

Capacity to host events (This is fixed capacity and not with additional temporary infrastructure)

N/A

N/A

1500

Eligible Business Types

  • Events Medical Services
  • Health & Safety Provision for Events
  • Audio Visual and Technology
  • Staging and Temporary Seating
  • Temporary Event Utilities
  • Production Services for events
  • Marquee Hire
  • Event and production Crew
  • Event organiser / producer / promoter
  • Event Catering
  • Security
  • Event Transport
  • Ticketing
  • Exhibition Services
  • PCO - Professional Conference Organisers
  • DMC - Destination Management Companies
  • Venue

First published: 14 May 2021 Last updated: 29 Jul 2021 -