Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

Support provided by Scottish Government

What does this involve?

This fund is now closed for applications.

If you have a question about your application, please use the separate enquiry form. (If you have already submitted an enquiry, you do not need to resubmit.)

  • Responses may take up to five days.
  • When you submit your application, you will receive a unique reference number. These reference numbers do not indicate when an application will be processed and concluded, as the work involved in each case may differ. 

 

This grant scheme is designed to help alleviate financial hardship for newly self-employed people who meet the eligibility criteria set out below.

The funding is being provided by the Scottish Government.

The scheme offers a one-off £4,000 payment for those whose status as being newly self-employed makes them ineligible for the UK Government’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

The deadline for applications was 11.59pm on 23 March 2021.

Any application submitted before the deadline will be considered and all re-applications made before then, or within seven days of an applicant being invited to re-apply, will be considered.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate that you:

  • (i)  Became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 but before 17 March 2020 (and are therefore ineligible for the UK Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme because you did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19)

or

  • (ii)  Became self-employed between 1 October 2018 and 6 April 2019 but are ineligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) because you weren’t self-employed for a sufficient period of time in the 2018/19 Financial Year to demonstrate that you derived 50% of your income from self-employment


In addition, you must confirm when submitting your application that you:

  • are ordinarily resident in Scotland
  • are registered with HMRC as self-employed and have a valid Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number
  • operate a business that is located in Scotland
  • trade as self-employed, not as a limited company
  • derive over 50% of your income from self-employment
  • reported trading profits below £50,000 in the financial year 2019-2020
  • started your business before 17 March 2020 and have continued to operate after 1 April 2020 (unless you are operating in a sector subject to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions which have forced the closure of your business)
  • have lost business income due to coronavirus restrictions and are experiencing personal financial hardship as a result
  • are ineligible for other Covid-19 related business grant support, including the Strategic Framework Business Fund, Covid-19 Temporary Restrictions Closure and Hardship Funds, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Services Fund, Wedding Sector Support Fund and Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers
  • 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 cover your basic living costs
  • have not breached Covid restrictions in place for businesses in Scotland

If you received funding through the first round of the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund launched in April 2020, you are still able to apply for support. This is a follow-on from that scheme and recognises the need for further help with living costs.

What does this cost?

It’s free to apply and the grant doesn’t need to be repaid.

However, if you provide incorrect information and are later found to be ineligible for the funding, you will be expected to immediately repay the grant in full.

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit or some other DWP benefits, receiving this grant may affect your benefit entitlement. This could mean you need to pay some money back to DWP, or that your future payments are reduced.

How this affects you will depend on your individual circumstances. You may wish to contact DWP to confirm how it could affect you before making an application.

Any grant awarded may be taxable. Any payment must be declared to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as part of your tax return. For further information on your tax position, you can contact HMRC's Coronavirus (Covid-19) helpline.

Who is this for?

Self-employed people in Scotland who have lost income due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic but have not been self-employed for a sufficient period of time to qualify for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

How long does this take?

The deadline for applications was 11.59pm on 23 March 2021.

Any application submitted before the deadline will be considered and all re-applications made before then, or within seven days of an applicant being invited to re-apply, will be considered.

Important information

What information do I need to provide?

All supporting information must be submitted electronically (online).

HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference

Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) will be required as part of the application process.

A UTR number may also be referred to as a "tax reference" number. It’s a 10-digit number that should be on official tax documents from HMRC or on your account page on the HMRC web portal.

You will need to provide a recent screenshot or photo of your business tax account page from the HMRC portal clearly showing your full name and Unique Taxpayer Reference number, or another form of official communication from HMRC with your name and UTR shown.

Other information

You will also need to provide:

1. Your bank account details for this business including the sort code, account number and branch location. You may provide a personal account, as long as you can clearly show that it has been used for business purposes.

2. We are unable to pay more than one grant award into a bank account. Joint account holders that are eligible to apply in respect of different businesses should provide alternative bank account details to avoid being rejected as a duplicate application.

3. A one month bank statement clearly showing evidence of business transactions from anytime during the period between 17 March 2019 and 17 March 2020. You will need to make sure your uploaded document or screenshot clearly shows the account name, bank name, account number and sort code.

  • There have been a number of rejected applications due to bank statements from the incorrect time period. Please double check you are providing the correct evidence before starting the application process.

4. Your National Insurance Number

5. Your business website address and/or social media web links such as Facebook or Instagram (if you have these)

Any information you give about your business (such as your registered name and address) MUST match the information held by official bodies such as HMRC. We’ll be checking and verifying all of the information you provide that relates to your business. Please make sure this information is up to date before you apply.

Next steps

This fund is now closed for applications.

If you have a question about your application, please use the separate enquiry form.

Responses may take up to five days. If you have already submitted an enquiry, you do not need to resubmit.

Support provided by Scottish Government

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