Newly self-employed and hardship help, plus Creative Scotland support update.




Support for the Newly Self-Employed and Firms Suffering Hardship

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop yesterday confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will become available in the coming days.

In these new measures the recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants. For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed. The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support. The £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs will be broken into three separate funds as follows:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants

  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief

  • £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland



The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector. (see below)

On announcing the measures, Ms Hyslop commented: “As well as dealing with this immediate crisis, we must look to the future. We must ensure that those businesses with a part to play in strengthening resilience in Scotland’s economy survive this crisis and thrive in future, which is why £45 million is being allocated to those firms. We continue to engage with businesses on a regular basis to understand their needs.”

It is anticipated that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April and that recipients are likely receive funds in May. This will once again be administered by local authority and we will prioritise passing on this information as soon as we have been briefed by government.  If you know someone who could benefit from this latest measure, please encourage them to look out for this support. Further information may be found here

Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary : Second Phase

The response to the first phase of Creative Scotland's bridging bursary was significant with over 800 requests in three days requesting a total of just under £1.5m.  To enable Creative Scotland to support as many people as possible they have announced an extra £2million of fundingtaking the total available funds to £4million.

This includes an extra £1million from the Scottish Government and £1million from the Freeland Foundation as part of its landmark commitment of £3m towards emergency funds for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers across the UK affected by the Covid-19 crisis.



Grant Overview


  • This is a fund for those individual artists and freelancers who have lost income from their creative work and/or practice due to COVID-19

  • You can seek between £500 and £2500 to help support your immediate needs

  • The overall budget for this fund is £4m

  • Awards are non-competitive and Creative Scotland has created a quick, simple process for requests

  • They are aiming to turn around requests and have the money in your account within 4 weeks of receiving your form

There is no deadline for this programme and Creative Scotland has committed to holding back a proportion of the budget so that they can support requests that take a little more time to reach them. However, the fund is finite and we would strongly recommend that anyone in the creative industries facing financial difficulty should consider this seriously.


Apply now

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