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Welcome to the Growth & Skills Hub

We are here to help you access the right support and training opportunities for your business.

Need a helping hand but are unsure which way to turn? We are two projects working hand-in-hand to help businesses realise their potential.

We can also help you deal with the impact of Coronavirus in these unprecedented times.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has released guidance and support measures specifically for businesses and employers related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and this continues to be updated regularly.

COVID Restrictions: Guidance on what you can and cannot do.

Roadmap out of Lockdown The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.

Financial Business Support Finder: see what support is available for you and your business.

Call one of our friendly, locally based experts to talk about what support is available to you and your business.

01209 708660 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri)


GOV.UK has a wide variety of coronavirus business support information, but here are some headlines on the support available locally & nationally:


Grant funding

Restart Grants

The Restart Grant is available from 1 April 2021 to support businesses in reopening safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted:

  • non-essential retail premises with one-off grants of up to £6,000
  • hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises with one-off grants of up to £18,000

If you are a business ratepayer and have already received a grant from Cornwall Council for a previous period of restriction, you don’t need to make a new application for the restart grant. Payments to these eligible businesses will be made as soon as possible.

If you have been trading since the 5 Jan 2021 in a businesses rated premises and so have not been eligible to receive previous grants you may now be eligible and you can submit an application here.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) 

Businesses that pay business rates and are required to close in England due to local or national restrictions up to 31st March are eligible for LRSG.

If you have not already claimed for this periods but think you are eligible you can still submit a claim.

This grant is administered by Cornwall Council, visit their their website for full details and to submit an application.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) 

Cornwall Council will use this funding to assist those businesses who were eligible to a grant payment in the Additional Restrictions second scheme. They are currently calculating the amount of the additional payments and will contact those businesses by the end of April.

Cornwall Council are administering all of the above grants. You will need to contact them directly with any specific issues or problems on 0300 1234 171 or visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/BusinessSupportGrant

Fisheries and Seafood Scheme

Applications have opened for a new £6.1 million scheme that will support the fishing and seafood sector in England. Initially the fund will focus on projects that help businesses adapt to life outside the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. 

You can find full details and a link to the application page here

Loan Funding

Recovery Loan Scheme

A new government-backed loan scheme launched on 6 April to provide additional finance to those businesses that need it. Businesses ranging from coffee shops and restaurants, to hairdressers and gyms can access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million. Invoice and asset finance is available from £1,000. The government will provide an 80% guarantee for all loans and interest rates have been capped at 14.99%.  

Find out more here. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - closed to new applications

Bounce Back Loan Scheme for Small Business - closed to new applications

Self-employment income support scheme 

Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) fourth grant – will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will cover the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. Self-employed individuals must have filed a 2019- 20 Self Assessment tax return to be eligible for the fourth grant. This means that over 600,000 individuals may be newly eligible for SEISS, including many new to self-employment in 2019- 20. All other eligibility criteria will remain the same as the third grant. 

SEISS fifth grant – There will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September. The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test, to ensure that support is targeted at those who need it the most as the economy reopens. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. The final grant can be claimed from late July. Further details will be published in due course.

More details and how to apply here

If you are unable to apply for this scheme, you may be eligible for Universal Credit

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April. Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked. 

The government has extended the CJRS for a further five months from May until the end of September 2021. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September, as the economy reopens.

Full details....

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

How to apply: There is an online service for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.  

Sign up to a HMRC webinar about the support available to help you and your staff.

Pension Advice 

Automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions: COVID-19 What you need to consider from The Pensions Regulator.

VAT cut for tourism and hospitality

VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions across the UK until the end of September, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022.

VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’

The government will give businesses which deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 the option to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-2022. Rather than paying in full at the end of March 2021, businesses will be able to choose to make 11 equal instalments over 2021-22. All businesses which took advantage of the VAT deferral can use the New Payment Scheme. Businesses will need to opt in, but all are eligible.

More details here. 

Self Assessment payments 

You can set up a payment plan to spread the cost of your latest Self Assessment bill if:

  • you owe £30,000 or less
  • you do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC
  • your tax returns are up to date
  • it’s less than 60 days after the payment deadline

You do not need to contact HMRC if you set up a payment plan online. Call the Self Assessment helpline if you’re not eligible for a payment plan or cannot use the online service.

Self Assessment Payment Helpline 
Telephone: 0300 200 3822 open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Time To Pay

Any Self-Assessment taxpayer with taxes due in January can set up an instalment payment arrangement for up to 12 months to pay their Self-Assessment tax liabilities up to £30,000

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 08000 241222 for practical help and advice.

Sign up to a HMRC webinar about the support available to help you and your staff.

Local Restrictions Support Grant

Businesses that pay business rates and are required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for support.  You can get funding if:

  • you are a business who is business rated (even if you don’t have to pay business rates)
  • your main business has face to face dealings with other people
    • For example, this could include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. It could also include businesses that operate primarily as an in-person venue, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead.
  • you been forced to close due to the national lockdown up to 31st March. 

More details about the grant and how to apply here.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties. Full details...

Nurseries will also qualify for relief in the same way as other eligible properties.

Business Rates Relief Fund

This new Business Rates relief fund of £1.5 billion is for businesses affected by COVID-19 outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. It is targeted support delivered as appeals against rates bills on basis of material changes of circumstance due to the pandemic to be ruled out.  The fund will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19. Local Authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards.

Find out more here.

Contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 171 for more details on these schemes.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is inviting applications for grants to help ports or harbours impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to provide health and safety equipment for fishing vessel owners.

MMO has re-purposed the balance of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and allocated £500,000 to projects for ports or harbours and £300,000 to fishing vessel owners or licence holders for health and safety improvements.

Grants of up to £100,000 each are available for existing projects that are aimed at mitigating impacts of Covid-19 at ports and harbours and bringing benefits to the local area. Applications will be assessed and judged on a competitive basis with grants awarded to those best meeting the criteria and aims of this fund. 

Awards of up to £50,000 each are available for health and safety improvements on board fishing vessels. This fund is open now and applications will be assessed and awarded on individual merit as and when they are received, until the fund is fully committed.

The fund criteria is available here

The Department for International Trade can advise on:

  • smooth clearance of products with customs authorities
  • intellectual property (IP) and other issues with business continuity
  • export plans and exploring market opportunities
  • finding new routes to markets
  • dealing with agents and distributors
  • finding alternative suppliers
  • selling online and updating your digital (online) presence

The National Workplace Testing programme will identify more positive cases of COVID-19 and ensure those infected, isolate, protecting those who cannot work from home and our vital services. This programme is crucial given that around 1 in 3 people have coronavirus without displaying any symptoms and will enable more people who have the virus to be identified sooner and break the chains of transmission. 

The programme is aimed at those without symptoms and who cannot work from home during lockdown. Companies in England with over 50 employees, can register on gov.uk to order coronavirus tests for their workforces.

Organisations with less than 50 staff, sole traders, the self-employed, or members of the public, should visit their Cornwall Council's website for further information about their testing services.

It is critical that employers take steps to keep workers and visitors safe. By following the sector-specific guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

NHS Test and Trace does not change existing guidance that employees should work from home wherever possible.

It is vital that employers play their part by:

  • making their workplaces as safe as possible (where working from home is not possible)
  • requesting that workers self-isolate if they have been asked to do so
  • supporting their workers when in isolation

Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace, and far less disruptive than further social and economic restrictions.

Learn more here.


We’ll work with you on a one-to-one basis to uncover the skills your business needs, and introduce you to training to get results. 


We work with local businesses to find the right guidance and support to help their business work smarter, develop and grow.

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