The Scotland Coach Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund opened for applications on 16 February. It will close at 1700hrs on 23 February.

The Fund is being administered by Visit Scotland. It is part of a suite of support measures put in place by the Scottish Government to help businesses in the country’s tourism and hospitality industries. It also captures coach companies in the private hire sector.

The Fund targets operators that would usually draw 55% or more of their turnover from tourism- or private hire-related activities. It will pay a per-vehicle grant to eligible businesses for all M2 and M3 category coaches that are Euro V or Euro VI compliant, with more going to those that are Euro VI.

Applications are submitted via a two-step online process. The first section asks questions to determine the applicant’s eligibility for the Fund. Once that has been ascertained, details about the business are added, along with copies of bank statements and O-Licence(s) and financial details. The second stage requires the uploading of V5 and other vehicle-specific forms.

Visit Scotland will work with Chiene and Tait Chartered Accountants to review and assess financial evidence. If an application is rejected, Visit Scotland will permit an appeal. That process will also involve a representative of the Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland.

The Fund’s total budget is £10m. That represents a doubling of the amount initially allocated by the Scottish Government. Such an increase was achieved after extensive lobbying from CPT Scotland and coach operators, who had questioned whether £5m of support would have been sufficient.

A maximum of £150,000 per applicant will be awarded. If any funds remain unallocated once all applications have been received and assessed they will be allocated pro rata to companies that reached the cap to bring those operators’ per qualifying coach sum to as close as possible to the amount awarded for all other qualifying coaches.

A guidance document for the Fund can be found here.