30 April 2020

Recently self-employed to access new hardship fund

A new grant hardship fund is now open for applications from individuals who recently became self-employed.

The £34 million fund launched today with Aberdeenshire being allocated around £1.8million.  Eligible applicants can apply for a £2,000 grant.

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund from the Scottish Government is being administered by local authorities across the country, providing support to those who are recently self-employed, suffering financial hardship and are unable to access other grant support schemes.

These grants make up part of a £100 million Scottish Government fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced on 21 April 2020.

Open to those who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 and who were actively trading up to March 2020, Aberdeenshire Council is now accepting applications.

The self-employed within Aberdeenshire will be required to meet various criteria and it is anticipated successful applicants will receive the funds within 10 days of applying.

Successful applicants may continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work while applying for or in receipt of grants.

Cllr Jim Gifford, leader of Aberdeenshire Council said: "As our local and national economy suffers the impact of COVID-19, it is vital we support those across all types of employment. We have seen great success to-date through the Coronavirus Business Support Fund which we have also been entrusted to administer, with 2,453 companies accessing more than £28.5 million as of today.

"The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund is another important support tool to help ease the pressure in some way. If you are self-employed please review the criteria on the Aberdeenshire Council website and submit your application in order to access this funding.

"I would like to once again remind you that our teams are here to support you and your business during this challenging time."

The application form together with full details of the required criteria can be found at: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/business/business-covid-19/self-employed-hardship-fund-covid-19/

For an overview of all available business support please visit: www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/business/business-covid-19/

The purpose of this fund is to provide hardship relief to newly self-employed individuals who have not been able to access support through other schemes or have exhausted all other avenues for business support. To be eligible applicants must meet all of the following criteria. If applicants receive the grant they can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.

• Became self-employed on/after 6 April 2019 (did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19)
• Over 50% of individual income is from self-employment
• Trading profits below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20
• Can provide evidence of active trading up to March 2020 and intend to continue trading in the tax year 2020-21
• Have lost business due to coronavirus and experience personal financial hardship as a result
• Ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support (including the Business Interruption Loan Schemes, Corporate Finance Fund, Job Retention Schemes, Future Fund, R&D Focussed SMEs Fund, HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Non-Domestic Rates relief, Small Business Grant or other business support)
• Do not receive working age benefit payments (Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Income Support) or have applied for but not yet started receiving Universal Credit
• Trade as self-employed, not as a limited company or partnership
• Have taken steps to limit costs and expenditure (including through schemes such as VAT deferral and seeking a mortgage payment holiday)
• Do not have access to sufficient savings or other sources of income to meet basic needs