COVID-19 Sector Specific Support

BLOG6th Apr 2020

*Updated 8 May*

As well as the government support measures for businesses regardless of sector in the UK, there are also a number of sector specific support packages available which we have listed below.

If you are unsure about what government support package is available to your business, we are here to help.

Find out more below about about these specific sectors:

  • Hospitality, Retail & Leisure
  • Oil & Gas
  • Construction
  • Creative Sector
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Third Sector
  • Seafood and Fishing


Hospitality, Retail & Leisure

Businesses in the Hospitality, Retail and Leisure industry who pay business rates:

  • 12-month business rates holiday (exempt for 2020/21 tax year) – applicable businesses should contact their relevant local authority
  • A cash grant of £25k available for hospitality, leisure, and retail properties with rateable value of less than £51k (but above £15k in England or £18k in Scotland) – again, applicable businesses should contact their relevant local authority
  • Learn more about additional details of definitions of hospitality, retail and leisure business
  • It has also been announced that to support the food industry and help provide meals for people who need to self-isolate, planning regulations will be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application


Oil & Gas

Upstream Oil & Gas

The double whammy of COVID-19 and a global oil price war is presenting what might be one of the upstream oil & gas sectors’ biggest challenges to date. As the sector begins to face the reality of extreme market conditions, there will inevitably be asset and corporate risks to evaluate and decisions to be made.

In a highly uncertain market, AAB is ready to support either situation with its unique upstream oil & gas financial projections and economic modelling services. Find out more about our Upstream Financial Modelling service.



Scottish Government Support for SME Housebuilders

The Scottish Government has announced a new £100m emergency loan fund for Scottish SME Housebuilders with liquidity issues due to the temporary closure of the housebuilding sector.

The fund’s aim is to safeguard jobs and protect suppliers, ensure a continued supply of homes, support post-COVID-19 economic recovery and retain diversity within the housebuilding sector.


Creative Sector

Creative sector support through Creative Scotland COVID-19 Impact Funds

Creative Scotland has launched three funding programmes designed to provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund
    • The fund will help sustain creative practice by freelance creative professionals who have lost earnings due to the cancelation of work as a result of COVID-19
    • The £2 million fund will offer one-off bursary payments of between £500 and £2,500 to help support the immediate needs
    • Applications to the fund opened on Monday 30 March 2020
  • Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund
    • The fund will provide one-off bursary support to self-employed screen sector workers
    • One-off bursaries of £500 to £2,500 will be provided to freelance PAYE and self-employed screen sector workers who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to loss of income as a result of COVID-19
    • Applications to the fund opened on Monday 30 March 2020
  • Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development
    • The fund will provide support for individuals and organisations to sustain their creative development in the coming months
    • Applicants will be encouraged to use funding to explore how best to sustain their practice, and reimagine their work, during the current climate and in the months to come
    • Funds may also be used for the development and presentation of work. The £7.5m fund will support up to 12 months of activity with a maximum award of £50,000
    • Applications to the fund opened on Friday 3 April 2020



Technology and Innovation Grants

  • Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects. 
  • The aim of this competition is to support UK businesses to focus on emerging or increasing needs of society and industries during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. By fast-tracking innovation, the UK will be better placed to maintain employment levels, a competitive position in global markets and make the UK more resilient to similar disruption.
  • Your application must demonstrate both realistic and significant benefits for society (including communities, families and individuals) or an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Businesses can claim 100% of eligible project costs up to the maximum of £50,000. These will be paid in advance of the project start date.
  • The project must have total eligible costs between £25,000 and £50,000, be able to start by 1st June 2020 at the latest and be no longer than 6 months in duration
  • The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on 17 April 2020

The UK government has also announced support packages for Early Stage and Innovative Firms.

Third Sector

Third Sector Resilience Fund

  • Third Sector Resilience Fund has been announced to support charities, community groups and other voluntary organisations based in Scotland who have been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak
  • The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period
  • The Fund is delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation and provides grants up to £100,000. In addition there is up to a further £5m available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000
  • The fund will be complemented by specialist business advice from Just Enterprise to help grant recipients maximise the impact of the financial support
  • To be eligible, interested organisations must be:
    • a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in Scotland and/or primarily delivering services/activities in Scottish communities;
    • already delivering those products or services prior to March 2020; and
    • needing funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19, as opposed to pre-existing financial difficulties
  • To find out if your organisation could be successful in gaining support from this fund, use the eligibility checker.

Other Support for Third Sector Organisations

A number of other sources of funding are open to Third Sector organisations – check out AAB’s Charity Services Team’s summary of these. 


Seafood and Fishing

Funding announced to assist Scottish Seafood Processing Industry

  • £10 million assistance for seafood processing businesses during COVID-19 pressures
  • Financial support for seafood processors to help them through economic pressures related to COVID-19 will be available through a new £10 million scheme
  • With many seafood businesses fighting for survival, and in turn threatening livelihoods in coastal communities, the Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund provides a combination of grants and loans to businesses suffering severe hardship following the shutdown of international markets and the food service industry across the UK
  • Further details will be provided of support and relevant criteria will be published in the coming days

Funding announced to assist Scottish Seafood Fishing Industry

Sea Fisheries Hardship Fund:

  • The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab
  • An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities
  • Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets
  • Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. Queries can be emailed to:
  • The scheme is composed of the following elements:
    • full time is being defined as where a vessel has recorded landings of £20,000 or more. This is the same limit that has been applied in previous schemes
    • vessels that are under 12 metres in length and were registered in Scotland on the 18 March 2020
    • earnings are defined as recorded landing income from sales notes from 2019. These data are submitted to Marine Scotland by buyers
    • monthly payments are based on monthly average 2019 sales income
    • wrasse catching vessels will not be included in this initial scheme as their markets remain largely uninterrupted

Sea Fisheries Hardship Fund (tranche 2):

  • An additional £3.5m for the over 12m fishing fleet has been announced by the Scottish Government as part of the COVID-19 response
  • This new tranche of funding will benefit around 220 Scottish vessels landing shellfish such as crab, lobster, scallop and langoustine. Payments are being made to help vessels meet fixed costs like mooring fees and insurance and will be made as follows:
    • up to £21,370 per vessel to businesses with a vessel over 12m
    • for businesses operating more than one vessel payments will be capped at £42,740
    • funding amounts will be graduated by fleet segment and length
    • vessel costs are sourced from the most recent Seafish fleet economic time series estimates, version March 2020 –
  • This new £3.5m fund supplements the initial £5m package of funding (detailed above) for around 650 under 12m vessels which was announced on 25 March 2020
  • Key information on the scheme:
    • The over 12 metre fleet support scheme is open to active Scottish registered and licensed vessels over 12 metres only, where the vessel made a minimum of £20,000 landings in 2019. Landings are calculated using the information we hold internally from electronic log books. The £20,000 threshold is intended to ensure that only active vessels are eligible.
    • The scheme is only open to over 12m vessels who land shellfish.
    • Grants will be made on the basis of three months equivalent of recurring fixed costs, excluding elements such as mortgages, interest, depreciation, crew costs, fishing gear repairs or purchases.
    • Marine Scotland will contact eligible vessels directly over the coming days.  There is no need for individuals to contact the Scottish Government.
    • Nephrops trawl is defined as a trawler whose income by value is generated by more than 50% Nephrops.
  • Find further details on the scheme and access to the application form
  • All enquiries should be sent to

This is very difficult period for all businesses and AAB is here to support and help you through it. If you have any questions or would like more information on the support available please do not hesitate to get in touch