Business Update Bulletin - 9 March 2021

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Manchester City Council

Business Update Bulletin

A newsletter from Manchester City Council's City Centre Growth & Infrastructure Team, with support and advice for Manchester businesses.


  • Budget 2021: The Chancellor unveils new £65bn support package 
  • Grants and Financial Support
  • Bounce Back Loans scheme
  • Rapid Covid19 testing 
  • Everyone's Business - Census 2021
  • Help Reshape Piccadilly
  • Temporary tables and chairs licences
  • Governments Covid19 response
  • Workplace Testing Scheme
  • Levelling Up Fund extended
  • Business Rates Review
  • Grow & Innovate by harnessing AI
  • Manchester's Digital Strategy Consultation
  • Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2021 
  • Manchester Pride 2021 given go ahead
  • Building your winning workforce through diversity and inclusion
  • Funding for NW SMEs
  • NLHF funding resumes 
  • Safe Travel
  • Handy links

Budget 2021: Chancellor unveils new £65bn support package

The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Budget to Parliament on Wednesday 3 March 2021. The full set of documents are available on the HM Treasury website at: Budget 2021: documents

Grants and Financial Support

If your business was required to close under the recent lockdowns (since 23.10.20) you can still claim the grants provided by central govt, but you must apply before 31.3.21 to maximise the amount of money you can get.

For more information and to apply visit:

Bounce Back Loans scheme - (extended until 31st March 2021)

Are you based in and trading from Greater Manchester and unable to access Bounce Back Loans through your current banking partner? 

GC Business Finance is geared to support SMEs to unlock finance. Alongside the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), GC Business Finance recognise that there's a gap in the market for those businesses who may not already be a client of existing Bounce Back providers. 

If you're looking to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and based in Greater Manchester then Bounce Back Loans could be for you. 

GMCA has allocated a limited £10m fund to specifically support those sole traders, entrepreneurs and business owners struggling to access Bounce Back Loans.

For more information visit:

Rapid testing for anyone who lives or works in Manchester and can’t do their job from home 

Sometimes people can have the Covid virus without knowing it and without any symptoms.That's why we have an extra form of rapid testing to help us pick up these cases. If you live or work in Manchester and are not able to work from home, you can have rapid testing (lateral flow testing) twice a week. 

The tests are for people, who do not have symptoms, and whose own organisation or employer does not offer a testing scheme. The scheme is also open to smaller businesses, freelancers and sold traders in the city and will help to stop the spread of the virus while also helping with business continuity.

Larger employers (50+) have been asked where possible to sign up to a Government scheme to do their own testing. 

Book a slot at our test sites across the city by ringing 0161 947 0770 / 0800 0924020.  

For more information about Covid testing visit the MCC website  

Workplace Testing Scheme

Businesses have until 31 March to register for the government’s workplace testing scheme, which will remain free until the end of June. All those who can work from home should continue to do so.

Everyone’s business – Census 2021 

Every Manchester household will be asked to be part of Census 2021 this spring. 

This crucial, once-in-a-decade survey helps many businesses, charities and public services to plan for their future: to decide where to open new shops, where to put vital services, and understand customers’ and the publics’ needs. 

Because the results help decide where billions get spent on services like transport, education and health – it’s crucial that everyone in Manchester is counted. Otherwise, our city will miss out on funding for these life-saving and life-enhancing public services. 

We’re hoping you will help make Census Day 2021 – Sunday 21 March – a success by letting staff know how important it is or sharing information with customers. 

There’s lots of material you could use – from leaflets to posters for shop windows and noticeboards and content for newsletters and social media at the Census 2021 resources site. 

Help reshape Piccadilly

What is it that makes a great city? When people think of their favourite cities around the world, they often think of the great public spaces. These spaces play an important part in city life.

Changes are needed in Piccadilly so it can be a part of Manchester city centre's continued success.

We have made a start by taking down the unpopular ‘small wall’ and we will do more as funding becomes available. This survey is an opportunity ​for you to help us shape what this future looks like. Find out more and share your ideas

Temporary tables and chairs licences

In preparation for the reopening of restaurants and bars, businesses may wish to apply for a temporary tables and chairs licence.

Gov. published Covid-19 Response – Spring 2021

Following the announcement last week of the Government’s plan for taking the country out of lockdown, it has published its Spring response, which provide the roadmap and sets out how the Government plans for continuing public health measures and economic interventions during the roadmap period and beyond.

Levelling Up Fund extended

The Levelling Up Fund will be extended to the whole of the UK.

Download the prospectus for guidance on how local areas can submit bids for the Levelling Up Fund at:

Business rates review final report

The Government announced that the results of the review of business rates will be published in Autumn 2021 when there is more economic certainty. An interim report will be published on 23 March.

Grow and innovate by harnessing Artificial Intelligence

Four North West universities, state-of-the-art innovative technologies, academic knowledge and AI research, join a network of forward-thinking SMEs and start to unlock the possibilities of AI for your business in their two-phased programme. Starts March 18  AI Foundry (flyer) Get in touch to find out more:

Manchester's Digital Strategy Consultation 

Manchester's a city built on ambition, and we know we can be a world-leading digital city within a decade.

By talking to businesses, stakeholders, partners, and residents, we're putting together a digital strategy that's based on inclusivity, upping digital skills to provide and sustain jobs, and making sure our economy as a city is more resilient.

Manchester's digital sector is one of its strengths, so we're going to build on that. But to do so means getting the input of everyone in our city.

Find out more about the digital strategy for Manchester, and make sure you have your say by visiting

Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2021 - new dates announced

MFDF21 have announced new dates, the festival will take place this year from Thursday 16th - Monday 27th September.  he event will once again be headline sponsored by food delivery platform Just Eat.

The Festival Hub will return taking place in Cathedral Gardens and promising a celebration of the region’s food and drink and all the talented people that bring it to the table. 

Find out more by visiting:

Manchester Pride 2021 to go ahead

The organisers of Pride have said that the celebrations will be in-person this year, as long as the Government’s roadmap for taking the country out of lockdown remains on track. Capacity for the festival will be reduced by half to help manage any health & safety concerns and there will be a back-up digital programme. Pride takes place over the August bank holiday weekend. 

Building your winning workforce through diversity & inclusion

This webinar will provide a clear and practical understanding of what Diversity & Inclusion really means, why it matters and what you can do as a company to leverage its full potential within your hiring strategy. 11 March 2pm, register your free place at:

Funding for North West SMEs

An additional £8milllion will be made available for manufacturers and makers to adopt digital technology to help improve productivity and efficiency. Made Smarter was piloted in 2019 and this most recent funding is for businesses in the North West.

NLHF funding resumes

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has resumed its project funding, with a renewed focused on heritage projects that help recovery from the pandemic and encourage skills development, boosts the local economy and creates better places. Environmental sustainability will be necessary for all successful projects. Grants are available from £3,000 to £5million.

Safe Travel

Only essential travel is permitted around Manchester, please check Transport for Greater Manchester’s website for the latest travel information.

Make your workplace COVID secure

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 14 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

COVID:Recovery – Start protecting your business

The health and a safety of workers returning to their workplace is essential in the lifting of restrictions.  

COVID: Recovery helps your business stay compliant and safe for you, your workforce and the public.  Control measures still need to be in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as restrictions are eased.  Businesses may find this transitional period difficult, uncertain and stressful which is why our recovery programme has been set up.

We want to ensure that residents, workers and visitors are safe and therefore we have set up two tiers of support for businesses.

  • We are offering free advice and signposting for businesses as they begin their post lockdown journey. Measures to comply with health and safety duties on reopening workplaces need to be considered at an early stage in the process and we are here to offer advice where needed. We have a free risk assessment template and check list of control measureswhich can be used and adapted to your requirements.
  • On site audits and assessments are also available for more detailed and sector specific enquiries. This service is offered at reduced rates as we help to ease the financial burdens businesses may have endured during lockdown. We are offering a 2 hour assessment for £100 plus VAT to any business starting to plan for a safe and legally compliant return to business.

To contact us please complete our Business compliance query form.

RIDDOR reporting for COVID-19 - HSE advice and guidance for employers

COVID-19 early outbreak management information

The COVID-19 Early Outbreak Management Information has been created to make sure people who run businesses or organisations know how to recognise an incident of COVID-19 and how to contain and report it, should an outbreak occur.

Please contact us if your business has had two or more cases in a 14 day period by emailing you can also contact us if you've had just one case and would like advice about outbreak management.

Action Cards have been produced to help businesses and other organisations work effectively with their local public health teams ( Public Health England) when dealing with an outbreak. They have been produced in a collaborative effort, led by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England. The GM PHE team can be contacted on tel: 0344 225 0562 (select option 3)

Download the action cards from PHE

Other support available for businesses

The following help is also available for your business and it's employees:

Other local support

As well as Government help, more local help is available:

Business information and support from Manchester City Council 

Brexit guidance

There are new rules for doing business with the EU. A Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take - call 0800 998 1098.

The government has issued guidance on the following:

The government is hosting free webinars to help you check the new rules and understand the actions to take. View the webinars.

The Business Growth Hub has a dedicated website offering guidance, including: 

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce can also give advice, including: 

Can you help?

Follow the Council on Twitter

Do you know about the Council's Twitter accounts?

Alongside the Council's main account (@mancitycouncil), we have a number of area-based accounts (such as @mcccitycentre) and team specific accounts (such as @mccworkskills).

Give them a follow!