Network Support Grant - Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend all operators read the NSG Guidance and the Fair Work First Guidance carefully to consider how they can claim NSG. The full terms and conditions are set out in the award letter for any claim granted and must be read carefully, signed and returned prior to any payment being issued.

What grant is in place to support bus services?

The Network Support Grant supports bus operators to keep fares more affordable and networks more extensive than would be otherwise, NSG replaced all other grant funding of this manner (BSOG, CSG and CSG-R).

Can I still claim NSG Plus?

No, NSG Plus was a short term additional fund available for a limited period to help operators recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic. NSG Plus ended on 31 March 2023, and there is no entitlement to claim retrospectively.

When did the NSG scheme begin, and can I backdate a claim?

The NSG scheme commenced 1 April 2022. Claims should be made to NSG from the date that buses come into operation and run live kilometres. Backdating is considered on a case by case basis, but claims can only be submitted for the current financial year and backdated payments will only be made to a maximum of the first date of the financial year that the claim is made (i.e. 1 April) providing the vehicles were in operation at that time.

What is NSG?

The NSG is a discretionary grant that subsidises commercial and community bus routes and is intended to contribute to the costs of running services. Payment calculations are based upon the numbers of live service kilometres operated during the claim period.

The NSG is awarded on an annual basis only and can be claimed at any time within the current financial year (April to March). 

The NSG is paid at 14.4 pence per kilometre per bus, and is paid on a 4-weekly basis in advance based on estimated kilometres submitted for PSV Licence operators and twice yearly for Section 19 and 22 Permit operators.

The NSG is broadly an equivalent to the “old” BSOG funding regime that applied pre-COVID-19 pandemic.

I have a new service starting after 1 April - can I include this in the service forecast?

Yes. If you have a new service starting after 1 April and the service has been registered with the Traffic Commissioner you should include this in your forecast of estimated kilometres If the service has not yet been registered you should not include this on your initial forecast but must submit a revised estimate claim once the service is registered.

What if I become aware of changes to the original forecast submitted at the beginning of the year later within the year?

You must contact the team at to notify them immediately of any changes to your original estimated claim. They will advise you of the action you must take. Failure to advise of a change in your circumstances may result in your grant payments being withheld or recovery of any overpayments already made.

Does NSG impact on salary increases?

NSG has conditions around salary increases and employees in line with the Fair Work First Principles. For further information, please check NSG Grant condition Section 2.9 and the Fair Work First Framework.

Can I increase fares on my services if I am participating in NSG?

Yes. There is no cap on fares increases you may levy, subject to our internal reasonable fares assessment for reimbursement. Although if your company operate local authority contracted services the local authority may set the fare levels.

My company is a community transport organisation. How often will I get paid through NSG?

Community transport organisations possessing a section 19 or section 22 permit claim twice yearly in arrears aligning with the 13 four-week payment periods. You are required to submit your first claim for seven four-week periods and your second claim for six four-week periods covering the full financial year. Prior to claiming for the first time you must complete the pre-registration template which can be found on the NSG website. Claims should be submitted as soon as possible and within three months of the claim period end. Payments are made following receipt and validation of each claim and payments will be made no later than three months after the claim submission.

BSOG Low Emission Vehicle (LEV)/Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) related questions

Can I still claim for BSOG LEV/LCV as part of NSG?

NSG does not contain an incentive rate relating to vehicle emissions. However, NSG is honouring the remaining entitlement relating to BSOG LEV, full details of which is set out in the NSG Guidance document.

There is no longer existing entitlement to receive BSOG LCV as the five-year entitlement period ended on 31 March 2024. The five-year entitlement period includes the period that CSG and/or CSG-R were in place.

BSOG LEV provided up to five years entitlement to a range of incentive rates from the date eligible buses entered into service from and including 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022. Any buses that were in service on registered local bus service routes prior to 1 April 2022 and were previously claimed for under the former BSOG may be entitled to BSOG LEV where they meet the eligibility and certification standards. From and including 1 April 2022 there is no BSOG LEV entitlement for any new buses coming into service from that date unless purchased through the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS) Round 1 or Round 2. Specific rates relating to SULEBS Round 2 are as specified in the SULEBS Round 2 guidance.

I am purchasing a new zero emission vehicle. Can this be included in my application for NSG?

To qualify, a vehicle was required to be in service up to and including 31 March 2022 at the very latest to qualify for any LEV – if the bus came into operation from and including 1 April 2022 onwards it does not qualify.

I have repowered a bus to become zero emission, can I claim LEV?

No, this bus will either be treated as a new vehicle, which under NSG has no entitlement to LEV as brought into operation after 1 April 2022, or as an existing vehicle, which, either will have been entitled to LCV or LEV at the time of being brought into operation. If the bus was not originally entitled to LCV/LEV there are no circumstances where this will now be considered.

Fair Work First Principles

What is Fair Work First (FWF), and why does it apply to NSG?

The Fair Work First criteria seek to address particular challenges in Scotland's labour market, to make a real difference to people and their communities, business and other organisations and the economy. Whilst there are several principles set out in the FWF guidance, there are mandatory principles that recipients of public sector grants (including Network Support Grant) must adhere to, specifically:

  • Payment of at least the real Living Wage to all paid employees aged 16 or over (including apprentices).
  • Provide appropriate channels for effective workers' voice, such as trade union recognition.

Workers or volunteers who receive no wage from an employer are exempt from this condition, as are operators who are solely self-employed.

How do tell you about my Fair Work First compliance?

From 1 April 2024, all participants of the NSG are required to confirm their compliance with the Fair Work First principles. You can do this by completing and submitting the Fair Work First Operator Compliance Statement

What happens if I cannot comply with the real living wage principle?

If a grant applicant does not believe that that can comply with this principle, there is an exceptions process they can apply for limited exceptions to the real Living Wage condition. The request must define for which part(s) of the workforce an exception is being sought and provide suitable evidence regarding the organisation’s current financial position, the costs of uprating the pay of that part (or parts) of the workforce, and any consequential or additional costs. If this exception is allowed, the grant recipient would still be expected to work towards meeting the condition in full within a reasonable timescale and to demonstrate progress during the lifetime of the grant.

What happens if I cannot comply with the paid workers voice principle?

There are no exceptions allowed in complying with this principle. All organisations with paid employees must meet this condition. If your organisation has less than 21 employees you need to meet this at an individual level, if you have 21 or more employees you must also meet this at a collective level. Further information can be found in the FWF guidance. You are not required to provide evidence but you must indicate how you meet this criteria by selecting the relevant options on the Operator Compliance Statement.

Formatting questions

I cannot access the drop-down menu options in the forms. Is there a solution?

Please get in touch with us at and the team will be happy to assist you and either provide you with advice or provide you with a new claim form.

Can I send the application form back in a different file format?

No. Once you complete your application form please send it to us in its original file format (xls). This file is uploaded to our reimbursement system therefore we are unable to accept forms in any other format which includes PDF.

Can I make modifications to the application form itself?

No. Please do not modify the application form apart from inserting the requested data into the relevant fields. Please ensure all the relevant fields, tabs and pages are completed as per the claim completion guidance. Any modifications to the claim form may result in delays to the processing of your claim and payments.