On Monday afternoon, the UK Government changed its guidance for the general public and businesses in order to slow the spread of the corona virus in the UK. These are the key points to be aware of:
- People who are well, under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition: limit their social contact where possible, including using less public transport, working at home and considering not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars. This also means that all face to face events and travel should be avoided.
- People who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant: strongly advised to work from home, not use public transport, pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
- People who develop Covid- 19 symptoms and everyone else in the same household: stay at home for 14 days and avoid leaving the house event to buy food or essentials. You can check your symptoms here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus
To help ScotlandIS members and the wider digital technologies sector to continue working under these circumstances, we will be running a webinar on Wednesday, 18 March, at 11am with legal, HR and remote working experts. This will also be an opportunity to discuss how the digital tech sector can help mitigate business impact across the Scottish economy. Please find more information here.
Financial and practical support for businesses
The UK and Scottish Governments have announced a number of measures to support businesses through these difficult times. The actions most relevant to our industry include:
- an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of Covid-19
- 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
- legislation to allow SMEs to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to Covid-19 (conditions apply, see 3.3. here)
- A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch in a matter of weeks to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts (loans of up to £1.2m).
- Scottish Enterprise has set up a corona virus business advice website and helpline at 0300 303 0660 (Mo-Fr, 8.30am to 5.30pm) to guide you through the various support measures available.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with regular updates. Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns you would like to raise us with Scottish Enterprise or Scottish Government.