COVID-19 & Business Loans

French Duncan


This article was updated 3pm Friday 3rd April. Please check back regularly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to keep informed of all the changes.  For all our information around COVID-19 visit


Business Loans & Grants:

There are a number of loans and grants available to business, depending on your size, sector and needs.  This page provides a summary of each of these.  You will find the key details we know so far, and where possible a guide on how to apply or next steps you should take.

At French Duncan we're aware many businesses will face challenges ahead, but we're here to help and support, and you can contact us at any time. 


Grants to help businesses - £10k - £25k:

Businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19) outbreak. The one-off grants are designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery, and more than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland will be able to benefit.

Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

  • a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses (1 below)
  • a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure (2 below) business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999. This is the rateable value as at 17 March 2020 regardless of any subsequent reduction in rateable value due to an appeal. This is only available if they were the ratepayer for a premises occupied for that business use on 17 March 2020.

Local authorities are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government, and are looking to make payments to successful applicants within 10 working days. Application forms can be found on your local council website, or can be provided by our team at French Duncan who are also available to discuss any queries you have on the application form.

  1. The one-off £10,000 grant is available to ratepayers of small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) or Rural Relief, or eligible for SBBS in receipt of Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief, and with rateable value up to £18,000.  The Scottish Government has taken the decision to exclude non-domestic property classifications which are not small businesses in the traditional sense. Examples include Advertising, ATM Sites, Car Parks, Public Toilets.
  2. The Scottish Government on 30th March expanded this support to also include some furnished holiday let landlords, but including ‘caravans and self-catering accommodation that are the primary income for the ratepayer and let out for 140 days or more in 2019-20'.
  3. Further detail on the specific uses to which the business premises is required to be put to in order to qualify as operating within these sectors is provided on the application form.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CBILS”) - For businesses with annual turnover of no more than £45m:

This scheme is now available through certain providers (likely to be the ones detailed by clicking here).  Summary details available at present are:

  • Funding will be provided by the British Business Bank through participating providers offering more attractive terms for both businesses applying for new facilities and lenders.
  • CBILS guarantees facilities up to a maximum of £5 million, available on repayment terms up to six years (for term loans and asset finance) and up to three years (for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities).
  • The lender receives a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.
  • Access to the scheme has now been opened up to smaller businesses facing cashflow difficulties who previously would not have been eligible for CBILS because they met the requirements for a standard commercial facility.
  • You may therefore consider re-contacting your lender if you have previously been unsuccessful in securing funding via this scheme.
  • Lenders will not require a personal guarantee for loans less than £250,000.
  • For facilities above £250,000, personal guarantees may still be required, at the lender’s discretion, but:
    • they exclude the Principal Private Residence (PPR), and
    • recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied.
  • It’s important that you are aware that you, the borrower, will always remain 100% liable for the debt. The CBILS guarantee is to the lender, not you as the SME.
  • The Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. The business remains liable for repayments of the capital.
  • Government will also pay for the lender-levied fees in relation to arranging this financing to alleviate initial set-up costs for businesses.

Full eligibility criteria will be published in due course but to be eligible for support via CBILS, the  business must:

  • Be UK based, with turnover of no more than £45m per annum;
  • Operate within an eligible industrial sector (a small number of industrial sectors are not eligible for support – see below).
  • Be able to confirm that they have not received de minimis State aid beyond €200,000 equivalent over the current and previous two fiscal years.
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal.

Please note that a limited number of further eligibility restrictions will apply.

Almost all business sectors are eligible, however there are a small number of excluded/restricted sectors arising primarily from EU de minimis-State aid rules.

What you need to do to apply:

We advise that your first stop should be to speak to your incumbent bank who will likely facilitate the loan for you.  However you will probably need both financial projections and a high level business plan in order to move forward, both of which we will be able to assist with - so speak to any of the colleagues listed below.

Our team work with the majority of the providers in Scotland on a regular basis and will be able to assist you through the application process.


Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS):

Will offer loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m, which come with a government guarantee of 80%. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest, so unlike the scheme for small to medium sized businesses, they will not get a 12-month holiday on paying the interest and fees involved. Further details of the scheme will be announced later this month.



Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS"):

We have a separate blog article all about what we know, and don't yet know, about this.  Please visit:


Contact details:

At French Duncan we have a lot of experience in grant funding and loan agreements, so will be able to help you through our dedicated teams covering Corporate Advisory, Business Restructuring, Corporate Taxation & HR Services.

Whilst some of our staff are currently working from home, all of the above can be contacted on their email addresses or on 0141 221 2984.


Other COVID-19 Information:

For all our help, support and information around COVID-19 / Coronavirus visit, where you can link to articles deferring HMRC payments, tax and business rates, debt assistance & restructuring and much more.


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