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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.

NEW: National Lockdown Guidance on what you can and cannot do.

Information on the tier restrictions, including what they mean for businesses and the financial support available.

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

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) - LIVE

The application process for the 2nd round of Additional Restrictions Grant is now open. The deadline for applications is midnight 31 January 2021. Applications will be processed from 1 February and businesses will be contacted once a decision is made.

Who is eligible? 

  • businesses who have not received any previous grants
  • businesses who are not business rated but have been legally required to close or severely impacted by the lockdown
  • businesses who are not legally required to close, but severely impacted by the lockdown and unable to access other business support grant schemes

This grant is administered by Cornwall Council so visit their website for full details and how to apply

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)

Businesses that pay business rates and are required to close in England due to local or national restrictions are eligible for support.

Available to those businesses that pay business rates and; 

  • were required to close during the national lockdown from 5 November to 2 December 2020 
  • were required to close when Tier 2 restrictions were put in place in Cornwall on 26 December 2020 
  • were required to close (or remain closed) when Tier 3 restrictions were put in place on 31 December 2020 
  • were required to close (or remain closed) when the national lockdown came into force on 05 January 2021  

If your business received a Local Restrictions Support Grant due to the national lockdown in November you do not need to reapply, Cornwall Council will use the details from your previous application to make payments. If you have not already claimed for this period but think you are eligible you can still submit a claim.

You will need to submit an application if you pay business rates and have been forced to close, but did not apply for the LRSG in November 2020.    

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

Closed Business Lockdown Payment (CBLP)

The Government has announced a one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are closed during the national lockdown.  The grants available are:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

If your business received a Local Restrictions Support Grant due to the national lockdown in November you do not need to apply for the Closed Business Lockdown Payment, Cornwall Council will use the details from your previous application to make payments for both schemes.  You will need to submit a joint application for the LRSG and CBLP if you pay business rates and have been forced to close, but did not apply for a grant for the  November 2020 lockdown.  

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

Christmas support payment grant (Wet-led pubs)

This grant is for wet-led pubs, where most of the income comes from serving drinks, which were required to close when tier 2 restrictions came into force on 26 Dec 2020 until tier 3 restrictions were introduced on 31 Dec 2020. Cornwall Council will be contacting eligible pubs about a Christmas support payment grant of £1000.

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


Loan Funding

The government is extending four temporary loan schemes to 31 March 2021: As a result, more businesses will now be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, supports primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance . Full details...

How to apply: The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website, however you should approach your own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. You may also consider approaching other lenders if you are unable to access the finance you need.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme for Small Business

The Bounce Back Loan (BBL) scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Full details....

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Businesses will be given the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up from your existing BBL Lender. 

How to apply: Businesses can access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.  For more details on how to apply visit the British Business Bank website


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. 

The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of a third and fourth grant.  To make a claim for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits.

The third taxable grant covers the three-month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021 and is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

An additional 4th grant will cover the period from February to April and details of that support are due to be published on 3 March.

More details and how to apply here

People can make their claim based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker at any time. People will not be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.

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

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This scheme has been extended until 30th April 2021. 

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. 

Full details....


Job Support Scheme 

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 30th April 2021.


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.


Kickstart Scheme 

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

Find out more about the scheme here.


Pension Advice 

Automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions: COVID-19 guidance for employers from The Pensions Regulator.

VAT cut for tourism and hospitality

The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March 2021.  

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
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Time To Pay

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. 

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

More details about the grant and how to apply here.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The government has introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority. Full details...

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

A business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year has been introduced. Full details...

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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