Free Advice

Covid-19 update 1. Thursday 19th March 2020

Rather than answer individual enquiries about relief available at this unprecedented time, I will post a blog as information comes to hand. The reliefs have only been anounced by both Westminster and Holyrood. That is “the what”. They are now working out “the how”. Here is the latest information;

Small Business Bonus Scheme: You can get non-domestic rates relief through the Small Business Bonus Scheme if:

  • the combined rateable value of all your business premises is £35,000 or less
  • and, the rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less

From 1 April 2020 Small Business Bonus Scheme relief will only be available for properties that are actively occupied.

It’s free to apply for rates relief, including the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Based on the total (cumulative) rateable value of all your non-domestic premises, the following relief is available:

  • total rateable value up to £15,000 – 100% relief (no rates payable) on each individual property
  • total rateable value of £15,001 to £35,000 – 25% relief on each individual property with a rateable value of £18,000 or less
  • You can save a maximum of £7,350 in 2019-20 and £7,470 in 2020-21.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses:  Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied.

Grants: Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,000 and up to and including £51,000 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.

A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get Small Business Bonus Scheme relief.

Applying for a grant and getting paid: The Scottish Government are working with Scotland’s 32 Councils and other stakeholders to agree a common approach to the application process. In other words, we don’t know how to apply yet. Details to come.

Deferring payment of non-domestic rates: If you’re struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact your local council and ask them about your payment options.

Note: All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21. You do not need to apply for this relief and it will be applied to your bill by your local council.

Business definitions include (but does not seem to be exclusive to);


  • Shops
  • Display rooms


  • Restaurants
  • Bothies

Finance Minister Kate Forbes has just posted on her twitter feed (19th March 2020) that there is more information to come. I notice she is pushing for extras like paying a % of salaries for people who stay at home (the Finance journalists are calling these “helicopter payments”).

Forbes is also working on Fishing business who don’t occupy premises. I will keep an eye on that.

This is a moving beast…I will keep you updated.