Business briefing at 4pm

Customers using CalMac ferries now have to use card or phone payments, not cash, the company has said

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Self-employed help shared by Oban BID

The Oban Business Improvement District has circulated some timely links for self-employed people.

It follows the roll-out of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

It will allow those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months, in a scheme which may be extended.

The money, however, will not be paid in a lump sum until June. For more info go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

There are a number of rules around eligibility and those ineligible may be entitled to claim alternatives including universal credit or business loans.

For more info visit: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme/

CalMac halts cash payments on ferries and at ports

Ferry operator CalMac has stopped accepting cash payments at its ferries and ports following concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said the World Health Organisation has advised against cash handling with ferry passengers now having the option to pay by either card, or Apple Pay or Google Pay, ‘where accepted.’

CalMac MD Robbie Drummond said: ‘We have introduced this measure in response to concerns raised by our staff and passengers. We are asking customers who still require to use our ferries for essential travel to ensure they have a valid debit or credit card with them as we will no longer handle cash. This is in line with most other organisations.’

Tourism group warns of ‘irreparable insolvency’

The Scottish Tourism Alliance has fielded concerns from tourism operators about the ‘behaviour’ of certain insurance companies not being prepared to pay up for coronavirus under their ‘business interruption’ policy cover.

The STA also said online companies which take accommodation bookings are also refunding fees beyond the cancellation policies’ terms and conditions.

The issues continued to ’cause extreme hardship’ for all smaller suppliers and ‘threatens imminent irreparable insolvency to swathes of accommodation providers,’ the alliance has warned.

Superstore looks after NHS

Lidl has donated thousands of fresh fruit and vegetable bags to NHS staff across Scotland.

The bags of produce were distributed to front line NHS staff across the weekend in partnership with Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

Christian Härtnagel, CEO at Lidl, said: ‘We are so grateful to the NHS and all of its staff for their hard work every day to help keep the nation safe. This is our small gesture to say thank you.’

How’s your business coping during the second week of the lockdown? Tell us at The Oban Times: editor@obantimes.co.uk or call 01631 568 000