Funding for Business

Support for businesses due to COVID-19 restrictions

If your business is legally required to close, you may be eligible to apply for a grant from the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

From Saturday 26 December 2020, East Lothian is in Level 4.

Under Level 4 restrictions, businesses directly impacted, and specifically mentioned in Schedule 5 Level 4 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, may be eligible for a Business Temporary Closure Grant.

On 11 January, the Scottish Government announced a significant top-up to grant support for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses closed by level four restrictions.

In addition to the grants businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also get a one off grant of:

  • £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000 (premises with a Rateable Value of £51,001 and over)
  • £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000 (premises with a Rateable Value of up to and including £51,000)
  • £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £3,000 (premises with a Rateable Value of £51,001 and over)
  • £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses on top of the 4-weekly £2,000 (premises with a Rateable Value of up to and including £51,000)

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Business Framework Fund (Business Temporary Closure Grant) will get an automatic top-up.

For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Business Framework Fund (Business Temporary Closure Grant) due to go to businesses on 25 January.

A list or eligible businesses will be announced here shortly.

Business Temporary Closure Grant

Premises with a Rateable Value of up to and including £51,000 may receive a grant of £2,000. Premises with a Rateable Value of £51,001 and over may receive a grant of £3,000. 

Grants are payable every four weeks in arrears for the duration protective measures are in place.

An upper four-weekly limit of £15,000 in grants applies to eligible businesses operating multiple premises.

A separate application form is required for each qualifying premises.

Eligibility criteria:
  • your business is required by law to close for the duration protective measures are in place
  • your business was trading on 2 November 2020
  • you have a dedicated business bank account (you will be required to provide your bank account details as part of the application process)
  • your business premises are registered for Business Rates (if you pay rates through your landlord rather than directly to the Council, you are still eligible to apply but must provide evidence of this arrangement through copy of your lease agreement)
  • your business has not breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions being implemented on 2 November
  • your business is not connected to a tax haven, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020
  • the premises you are applying for are located in East Lothian
  • your business sector is listed in the Eligible Sectors table below
Business Sectors Eligible and Ineligible for a Business Temporary Closure Grant

Business Temporary Closure Grant
Eligible Sectors
Level 4

Business Temporary Closure Grant
Ineligible Sectors
Level 4


Hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camp sites.



Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, social clubs.



Non-essential retail


  • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops
  • Off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
  • Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  • Newsagents
  • Petrol Stations, Car Repair and MOT Services, Bicycle Shops, Taxi or
    Vehicle Hire Businesses
  • Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions, Short-term Loan Providers, Savings Clubs, Cash Points and undertakings which by way of business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers
  • Post Offices
  • Funeral Directors
  • Laundrettes and Dry Cleaners
  • Dental Services, Opticians, Audiology Services, Chiropody Services, Chiropractors, Osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health
  • Veterinary Surgeons and Pet Shops
  • Agricultural Supplies Shops and Agricultural Markets
  • Storage and Distribution Facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this sub-paragraph.
  • Car Parks
  • Public Toilets, Livestock Markets or Auctions

Close Contact Services

Hairdressers, Barbers, Beauticians, Tailors


Sports and Exercise

Indoor Gyms, Swimming Pools, Dance Studios, Exercise Class/Yoga Studios.


Leisure and Entertainment

Cinemas, Arcades, Soft play, Funfairs, Indoor Bowling, Theatres, Comedy Clubs, Sports Stadiums, Conference or Exhibition Centres, Snooker/Pool Halls, Music Venues, Casinos, Bingo Halls, Nightclubs.


Visitor Attractions



Apply for a Strategic Framework Business Support Grant 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be eligible to claim the third grant.  You must make your claim between 30 November 2020 and 29 January 2021.  To make a claim for the third grant, your business must have been impacted by Coronavirus on or after 1 November 2020.  You can make a claim for the third grant if you're eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first or second.  For more information, eligibility and application process.

Scotland's Events Recovery Fund

Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund (SERF) has been established in conjunction with Scottish Government to help Scotland’s events sector plan and deliver events through to the end of 2021, and to provide support as the industry responds and adapts to the effects of COVID-19.  This fund aims to help restart the events sector as restrictions are eased, and address additional costs which may be incurred as a result of new hygiene and health and safety requirements, allowing communities and the public to regain confidence in hosting and attending events.

A total of £2.75 million is available for eligible events planned to take place before the end of 2021. This is an open fund without a fixed application deadline. It is anticipated that up to £1.5m in funding may be awarded for applications received up to 31 December 2020, and that the remainder will be retained to support applications received between 1st January and 31st March 2021. The fund is designed to support innovation by organisers in planning events, and applicants are encouraged to seek viable solutions, pilot new ideas and share best practice in their event plans.

This fund replaces EventScotland’s National and Beacon funding programmes on an interim basis. It has also integrated Scotland’s Winter Festivals and the Scottish Clans and Historical Figures Event Funds. The International Events Programme remains open for applicants who are organising events which promote Scotland on the world-stage and achieve media coverage across the UK and internationally.  For more information, eligibility and application process

Better Places Green Recovery Fund

Awards of between £5,000 and £20,000 are being offered to successful NGO or community-led projects which will help to plan for the future management of nature sites in a low-impact and sustainable way, improving the experience for both visitors and local communities.  Closing date for applications is 29 January 2021.  For more information and how to apply.

Digital Enablement Loan

The Digital Enablement Loan is a Scottish Government initiative to provide loans to Scottish SMEs who wish to improve their digital capabilities and capacity.

  • Borrow between £5k - £100k
  • Interest free
  • Up to 5 years repayment terms
  • No early repayment fees

For more information, eligibility and application process.

Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme

A £25m programme which aims to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery.  The programme has two strands:

The Adapt & Thrive Programme aims to support organisations across the third sector to adapt to the challenge presented by COVID-19 and build back better to thrive in the future.  The programme will help organisations to make the necessary changes to operate sustainably so they can continue to have a positive impact on people and communities.  The programme is now open for applications and runs until March 2021.

Communities Recovery Fund aims to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations in supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery and tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19.  

East Lothian Investments Ltd

ELI Ltd is a not-for-profit company, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, providing interest-free loans to East Lothian businesses.  It is managed by a Fund Manager and governed by a Board of Directors.

  • companies must be based within East Lothian
  • loans can be applied for up to £15,000 and are interest-free with a 5% arrangement fee
  • applications can be for any purpose, except debt repayment
  • loans awarded will normally be re-paid over a term of 48 months
  • open to businesses at all stages and all sectors and types of businesses, including start up
  • upfront repayment holiday may be available, if required

More information, including applicant guidance and application available visit East Lothian Investments.

Towns and Villages Recovery Support Funding

Limited funding has been identified to support towns and villages through recovery and renewal.  Local business and community groups are encouraged to consider how best to utilise this funding to support the local economy through the ongoing coronavirus crisis and especially in relation to the easing of lockdown measures. The fund is aimed at a large number of small projects, or larger proposals that will support a wider area where there is a local collaborative approach.

Project ideas and suggestions that could be supported are -

  • physical distancing and public health infrastructure: supply of open for business/good to go signage, distancing markers, outdoor protection while queuing, protective screens, PPE and hand sanitising equipment etc.
  • street ambassadors or volunteers to help manage public spaces and streets - for example providing information to visitors, giving directions, refilling sanitising stations, cleaning seating areas
  • pop up attractions and facilities such as micro-parks, seating areas, or markets. 
  • town 'treasure trails' or other local events to attract people/families to a town or village centre whilst following public health advice
  • local marketing and promotional activity aligned with co-ordinated messaging e.g. develop social medial, print and local advertising campaigns around the "Stay Safe, Support Local, Love East Lothian" message or private local training to support businesses to sell online or via 'click and collect'
  • hyper-local delivery mechanisms to assist local businesses to serve their customers and support vulnerable groups
  • develop new local structures to support recovery and resilience e.g. establish or help develop further a business association or trader's group, link with other local organisations and agencies e.g. local housing associations, development trusts, charities, and social enterprises

Local businesses or community groups should contact their Economic Development Town/Village Single Point of Contact to discuss their idea prior to submitting an application. Contacted details are provided in the guidance available to download here.

You can review the full application, guidance and eligibility criteria in advance.

Creative Industry

Creative Scotland offers funding programmes designed to provide further support to sustain the country's creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers - Funding is available to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediate financial hardship means an inability to meet essential costs at the present time. The funds offer a one-off payment to those who are deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the pandemic.  This is now in the second round of funding, please note that you can only apply once to this fund.  Please do not apply more than once using multiple email addresses.  Creative Scotland realises that not everyone will be able to respond to this opportunity immediately, and will hold back a portion of the budget to support requests that take a little more time to reach them.

The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development - due to a funding boost the fund threshold has been raised - organisations and individuals can now apply for funding of between £1,000 and £100,000.

Youth Arts Fund - funding from the Nurturing Talent Fund to provide opportunities to young, emerging artists who are entering a challenging funding environment.

North Berwick Trust grants

North Berwick Trust is offering grants to hard-hit businesses based in North Berwick to help them survive the COVID-19 emergency.  Grants of up to £5,000 will be awarded every month for at least the next 6 months, depending on COVID-19 developments.  Further information and application details are here.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Small businesses can apply for a 100% government-backed Bounce Back Loan.  Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.  Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months.  Closing date is 31 March 2021.  For details on eligibility and how to apply.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This 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.  This scheme will close on 31 March 2021.  You should apply via your lenders website or through one of the accredited lenders and partners offering the scheme in Scotland.

BT Small Business Support Scheme

BT has introduced a range of new measures to help small business boost their connectivity, cash flow and confidence.  Find out more.