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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 Guidance on what you can and cannot do.

COVID RoadmapThe government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Summer 2021’, setting out the current roadmap for England.

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

Download Face Covering Request Posters for various types of business - designed for use following the lifting of Covid restrictions on 19th July 2021

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:


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 – worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant covers the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. 

SEISS fifth grant – 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.  If you’re eligible based on your tax returns, HMRC will contact you from mid-July either by email, letter or within the online service.

The online service to claim the fifth grant is now available  and you must make your claim on or before 30 September 2021.

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 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.

  • From 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
  • From 1 August 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
  • For claims from 1st July 2021, employers must top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of their wages (up to £2,500) for the hours they are on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

Claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

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.

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

The 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.

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

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

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

Fisheries and Seafood Scheme

£6.1 million scheme supporting 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

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

You can no longer order free rapid lateral flow tests for your employees.

Instead you can:

  • buy your own tests and set up your own workplace testing
  • pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for you

If you cannot provide testing, you can ask your employees to get a rapid lateral flow test at home or at a test site.


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.

News & Events

See all our latest News & Events from around Cornwall & Isles of Scilly.

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