Rural Business

*Last updated 11:00am, 12 January 2021


rural businessRural Business

This page contains our overview of information relating to business, which we think will be of value to members. Information is organised from the most recent to the most distant. Additional information for anyone who works for a business or organisation, or who employs staff is available here.


11 January 2021- Grant support top-up announced

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced top-ups to the Strategic Business Framework Fund available to hospitality, retail and leisure businesses in Scotland that have been required to close as a result of the level 4 restrictions.
Eligible businesses are entitled to a one-off grant in addition to monies already received through the Fund.

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08 January 2021- Covid funding

Following the announcement of up to £9,000 of funding for businesses forced to close in the last round of Covid-19 restrictions by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, there was some confusion as this does not apply to businesses in Scotland. The package of funding announced by Scottish Government in December, including for Wedding venues, self-catering, B&B and other sectors is still awaiting detail on how to apply and eligibility. We will update as soon as possible. In the meantime temporary closure grants and restriction grants are still available and more details below and here.

If your business is required to close by law you could be entitled to a temporary closure grant every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £2,000 if your business premises has a rateables value of up to and including £51,000
  • £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above


From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £15,000 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.

If your business is specifically required to modify its operations, as specified by the schedules of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 or specified in the levels list on the eligibility page, you may be entitled to a Business Restrictions grant every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £1, 400 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000 
  • £2,100 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above

From 1 January 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £10,500 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.




21 October 2020 - Covid hospitality restrictions extended

The First Minister has announced that the temporary restrictions on hospitality which were due to end on 26 October have been extended to 6am on Monday 2 November.

The First Minister said the extension allows for a transition to the new ‘Level System’ from 2 November that can be applied nationally or regionally, depending on the level of infection.

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15 October 2020 - Covid Support Funds - UPDATE

Details on eligibility criteria a £40 million support fund for businesses affected by the most recent restrictions on hospitality businesses have been published.

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24 June 2020 - Latest COVID-19 Tourism Advice

The Scottish Government announced that the tourism and hospitality sector could re-open on 15 July if sufficient progress is made to move to phase 3 of the route-map. It has produced guidance setting out key public health measures that will need to be taken to allow safe reopening.

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12 June 2020 - COVID-19 guidance for farmers and crofters

Guidance for farmers and crofters to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published. Information includes how to support safe working on farms and crofts, hygiene measures, farm and croft inspections, keeping employees safe and operating farm shops.

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04 June 2020 - Changes to the Job Retention and Self employed Income Support schemes

From 1 July – a month earlier than previously announced – businesses will be able to bring back furloughed workers on a part-time basis. Employers will be able to decide when and what hours their employees work, but they will be responsible for paying their wages for the time they are working. Any new working hours agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing, meaning new agreements will have to be drafted. Further guidance on how flexible furloughing will work will be published on 12 June.

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26 May 2020 - Sector guidance for easing lockdown

New guidance has been published for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work, with updated guidance for construction to publish later in the week.

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26 May 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer work places statement

A joint statement by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Health and Safety Executive and local authorities on safe workplaces.

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27 April 2020 - Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced on Monday 27 April.

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23 April 2020 - Scottish Ministers announced additional funding for gaps in UK Government’s schemes

Fiona Hyslop has announced an additional £100 million for Scottish individuals and businesses to relieve hardship; protecting the newly self-employed ineligible for other support and viable micro and SME businesses in distress who may be ineligible for UK Government sources of funding or not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive.

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15 April 2020 - Additional support for businesses

The Scottish Government has announced a second phase of funding to protect against the effects of COVID-19. Around £220 million of further grants are being made available for businesses - including the recently self-employed - to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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08 April 2020 - Downing Street Briefing

The chancellor announced a £750m rescue package for the charity sector:

  • £360m allocated by government departments for charities providing vital services and support to vulnerable people – including hospices, St John’s Ambulance, victims charities (including domestic abuse), those supporting vulnerable children and Citizens Advice.
  • £370m for small and medium-sized charities (funded via a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England) including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.
  • Government will also match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser on 23 April – pledging a minimum of £20m
  • £60m for devolved administrations “and further significant Barnett allocations, dependent on the final proposals funded, through the direct grant pot”.


03 April 2020 - Emergency business loan scheme revamped after criticism

There has been widespread concern, acknowledged by the government, that some of the emergency measures to provide financial assistance to businesses are not working, with fewer that 1,000 loans being approved out of 130,000 enquiries.

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02 April 2020 - Muirburn

Carrying out muirburn in Scotland is now temporarily illegal. We believe this is disproportionate and unwarranted. We will be speaking to the Scottish Government about the derogation required to enable muirburn to take place by land managers who are part of the Agi-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS). We have emailed all members with further details of this legislation. 

Last week the vast majority of our members ceased muirburn when we called on land managers to stop during the Covid-19 pandemic to help ensure there would be absolutely no extra pressure put on the emergency services should a fire get out of control at this time – only two weeks before the end of the burning season. We appreciate there was only a very slim chance of this but felt that it was an area of activity which was not completely risk free. Our call was backed by the NFUS. At the same time, we also called on the public to adjust their behaviour in relation to access to rural areas during the crisis for example by not mountain biking, horse riding or hill walking.


02 April 2020 - Planning

For anyone with full planning permission or planning permission in principle, this will not expire for 12 months, irrespective of whether that development has commenced. The permission would only lapse if development has not commenced before the end of the 12-month period.

In relation to applications for approval of conditions, if the last date for making an application for an approval is within the emergency period (until 30 September 2020) then the time limit for making such an application is to the end of the 12-month period.

If you have any questions, please email our Policy Advisor Gavin Mowat on


27 March 2020 - Ratepayers for self-catering accommodation to have access to grants

Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes has announced that ratepayers for self-catering accommodation and caravans will be eligible for both the one-off £10,000 grant for small businesses and the one-off £25,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors announced on 18 March by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture. The grants will be available on the condition that this property is each ratepayer’s primary source of earnings and that the property is let for 140 days or more in the financial year 2019-20. Applicants will be required to provide evidence of this and grants will be restricted to one per ratepayer.


27 March 2020 - Offer support to tackle Covid-19

An email address for any businesses, third sector or voluntary organisations who wish to offer support to tackle Covid-19 has been set up. Those who are interested should email the Scottish Government at with details such as the organisation’s key contact and their role, what it is offering and how it might be best applied, how quickly its support could be available and whether it is offering this as a donation or a chargeable service.


25 March 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for individuals and businesses in Scotland - (UK Gov.)

GOV.UK has published a page collating the latest information for individuals and businesses in Scotland. The topics covered on the page are wide ranging and cover individuals and families, businesses, UK Government support for businesses, Scottish Government support for businesses, business support helplines and information on how you can help.

View the website


25 March 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance - (Scot. Gov.)

Following the UK Government, the Scottish Government has published it's own set of guidance for Scottish businesses. This guidance contains an important list of businesses defined as 'non-essential', which should now be shut.

View the website


25 March 2020 General updates

This page highlights MOTs, Co. Accounts and Fishing, as stated in the evening’s announcements, and an update on the Single Application Form submission window.

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24 March 2020 -

From the website: "The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. This website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business. The Government is doing its best to stand behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.

View the website


24 March 2020 - Broad business updates

We've collated information from a variety of different sources covering different topics from the past few days. Guidelines include If you are unsure whether your business should close, If you are considering letting staff go, VAT payments delay, information for businesses facing cash flow issues and more.

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23 March 2020 - Coronavirus Covid-19 – Private landlords and letting agents (Includes advice for businesses)

These FAQs has been compiled by Scottish Government in partnership with Scottish Association of Landlords, Council of Letting Agents and Propertymark. In what are exceptional circumstances, the aim is to provide reassurance and specific guidance on the main questions from and concerns of the private rented sector.

Given the fast changing and unpredictable nature of the situation, it is anticipated that further information and guidance will be issued in due course.

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20 March 2020 - Chancellor update

This update has seen unprecedented intervention with a combination of measures. These measures go towards protecting people’s jobs, offering more generous support to those who are without employment, strengthening the safety net for those who work for themselves and helping people to stay in their homes.

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18 March 2020 - Economy Secretary Statement

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has addressed the Scottish Parliament on the economic impact of COVID-19 in Scotland. In her statement she warned that as a result of coronavirus, the Scottish economy is facing an immediate collapse in demand. She outlined the actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April.

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17 March 2020 - Chancellor’s Statement

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced an economic emergency and promises to do whatever it takes to support economy. He recognizes that this crisis will not be overcome by a single package of measures and will require a collective national effort.

Please note: While the Chancellor has taken extraordinary steps to build on the already considerable business support package announced last week, some of the measures will only directly affect English businesses. Matters which are devolved, such as Non-Domestic Rates, will not include Scotland. We continue to be in regular contact with the Scottish and UK Governments, as well as other industry bodies. We will provide updates to members at first available opportunity.

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16 March 2020 - Limiting the impact on the business community

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland have been announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

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Further information

• UK Government advice in relation to travel can be found here.
• Test numbers for Covid-19 can be found here and are updated daily.
• The latest NHS updates on the Coronavirus can be found here.