Latest Business news and updates for Plymouth businesses

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Plymouth business news

16 March 2021

Please find below an overview of the latest business advice and guidance. In today's newsletter you will find news and updates including:

  • Update on business grants
  • Resurgam Charter Launch
  • Budget 2021 summary
  • Launch of Plymouth Culture Plan
  • Reconnect with Plymouth with new domestic marketing campaign
  • Second phase of Oceansgate development complete
  • Plymouth set to become a Freeport
  • Outdoor seating fees waived to help businesses bounce back
  • New video content to help keep your business moving in EU
  • Have your say on a future network of Journey Hubs across the city
  • Virtual events/webinars
  • Funding streams/competitions

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support, please contact us.

Update on business grants

We are pleased to confirm that all outstanding ARG applications have now been verified and paid.

In total we were able to approve 1,374 ARG applications, meaning over £3.4million in grants have been paid out to Plymouth businesses.

We are now working to automate payments for the 44-day LRSG payment (covering 16 Feb to 31 March). We have identified 1,851 businesses that should be eligible for the grants, with a total of over £4.5million to be paid out.

All businesses due to receive a payment will receive a remittance email from us confirming the amount to be paid and expected payment date.

However, approximately 1,200 eligible businesses are missing out on LRSG funding as they haven’t yet applied. The deadline for the 42-day payment (covering 5 January to 15 February) is fast approaching with applications required by 31 March. Any business which pays rates to Plymouth City Council and has been legally required to close during the coronavirus lockdown is urged to check the eligibility criteria and apply if they haven’t done so already.

Further to 3 March's budget announce about the Restart Grants and other additional finance support packages, we are awaiting more guidance from Government. We will share another update as soon as we hear more about these schemes and have a process in place.

Thank you for your continued patience as we work as quickly as possible to administer these grant schemes.

See more on business grants.

Resurgam Charter Launch

Join us for the virtual launch of the Resurgam Charter for the opportunity to pre-sign the Charter.

We are asking businesses and organisations to sign a charter to be “Committed to a fairer, greener future for Plymouth”.

Demonstrate your commitment to making Plymouth a fairer and greener city as we recover from the pandemic. The Resurgam Charter part of Plymouth’s Resurgam recovery programme is designed to help you, and other Plymouth businesses to do that.

By registering for the event, you will be given the opportunity to pre-sign the Charter, joining the group of businesses across Plymouth that are “Committed to a fairer, greener future for Plymouth”.

Taking place on Tuesday 23 March, 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Find out more here

Budget 2021: Protecting the jobs and livelihood of the British people

Measures announced in the Budget include, which was announced on Wednesday 3 March, include:

  • An extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to September 2021 across the UK. Employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens.
  • An extension of the UK-wide Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now able to claim for the first time.
  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants – a one off cash grant of up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England.
  • A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme to make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million, to help businesses of all sizes through the next stage of recovery.
  • Extension to the 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.
  • 750,000 eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will benefit from business rates relief to continue for three months to the end of June. For the nine months after, the rate will be 66 per cent.
  • An extension to the temporary cut in Stamp Duty Land Tax in England and Northern Ireland until September will support the housing market and protect and create jobs.
  • A new mortgage guarantee scheme will enable all UK homebuyers secure a mortgage up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit.
  • Extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021, and an increase of payment to £3,000.
  • £7 million for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.
  • Additional £126 million for 40,000 more traineeships in England, funding high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds in 2021/22 academic year.
  • Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs per employee from the Government.
  • To further support the cashflow of businesses, the government is extending the loss carry back rules worth up to £760,000 per company.
  • The rate of Corporation Tax will increase to 25%, which will remain the lowest rate in the G7. In order to support the recovery, the increase will not take effect until 2023. Businesses with profits of £50,000 or less, around 70% of actively trading companies, will continue to be taxed at 19%, and a taper above £50,000 will be introduced, so that only businesses with profits greater than £250,000 will be taxed at the full 25% rate.
  • Beginning April 2021, the new super-deduction capital allowance will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment.
  • Fuel duty and alcohol duties will be frozen.
  • Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
  • The £375 million UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies, such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.
  • Reforms to the immigration system will help ambitious UK businesses attract the brightest and best international talent.
  • A new Help to Grow scheme, to offer up to 130,000 companies across the UK, a digital and management boost.
  • Build Back Better: our plan for growth sets out the Government’s plans to support growth through significant investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation, and to pursue growth that levels up every part of the UK, enables the transition to net zero, and supports our vision for Global Britain.

All Budget 2021 documents can be found here.

Vision for culture to support a vibrant ‘world class’ Plymouth for the benefit of all

An ambitious vision to put culture at the heart of Plymouth’s development has been revealed, supporting and creating hundreds of jobs and businesses while building a world class cultural offer that attracts visitors and connects communities.

Plymouth Culture – the organisation that supports the city’s cultural sector – has united businesses, stakeholders and city leaders as well as artists, creatives and performers to develop the plan, which sets out how culture can give Plymouth the economic and creative support it needs to truly prosper.

The Culture Plan urges Plymouth to be a leader for culture, highlighting the achievements of other cities brave enough to tread a similar path. Liverpool, for example, has doubled the size of its visitor economy thanks to cultural activity, where it is estimated for every £1 invested, £10 is brought back into the city.

Culture is vital to Plymouth’s future in a world after the Covid-19 pandemic - the sector currently employs more than 1,500 people, with an estimated 600 indirect jobs supported by it. The sector accounts for nearly £70 million of economic output per year and 365 businesses in Plymouth are classed as “arts, entertainment, recreation and other services”.

Find out more here

Reconnect with Plymouth with new domestic marketing campaign

Plymouth is being promoted nationally in a new domestic marketing campaign, as part of the Discover England Fund Connections project.

The Reconnect campaign has gone live today, 15 March, and will promote Plymouth to family friendly and mini breaker audiences, across targeted social media advertising radio and print advertising in regional publications with key messages focussed on encouraging people to ‘take time to reconnect’ with history, heritage and genealogy themes.

The campaign aims to inspire visitors to plan ahead for visits and focusses on showcasing historic and heritage product in destinations. Plymouth has led on the creation and delivery of this marketing campaign, which features multiple partners including Bath, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Essex, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, British Guild of Tourist Guides, the Institute of Tourist Guiding and’s Progenealogists

See detail of what’s on offer at and engage with the campaign by following our Reconnect England social media channels across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Second phase of Oceansgate development complete

The second phase of Plymouth City Council’s Oceansgate development, a world-class hub for marine industries, has now reached completion.

The momentous occasion was celebrated this week with a virtual event, where building contractor Kier Construction ‘handed over’ the keys to the Council.

The project is transforming disused Ministry of Defence land in three phases, creating a purpose-built environment with both offices and industrial units designed with the needs of marine and maritime businesses in mind.

Phase 2 gives an additional 1,350 metres squared of light industrial space in three separate buildings and 1,100 metres squared of office space. The new office building is named Nesbitt House in honour of Plymouth-born Kate Nesbitt, who became the first female member of the Royal Navy to be awarded the Military Cross for her service in Afghanistan in 2009, celebrating the site’s defence links and proximity to the Naval Base.

The newly completed phase is already over 90 per cent pre-let. Tenants moving into Phase 2 include ESL Group’s Space and Defence Solutions division and City College Plymouth, which is creating a new dedicated learning environment offering university-level courses in marine and engineering subjects.

Oceansgate is the city’s Marine Enterprise Zone and sits within South Yard which is a key part of the new Plymouth and South Devon freezone. The freezone offers specific tax and relief benefits for companies based within it, incentivising employers to invest and create new jobs.

Find out more here

Plymouth set to become a Freeport

Plymouth is to become a Freeport unlocking million pounds of funding for the area - both with within the city’s boundaries and across wider South Devon area.

Plymouth City Council led a partnership with Devon Country and South Hams District Council as well as the Heart of the South West LEP on a bid to become a freezone which would include sites at Devonport South Yard and Langage Energy Zone.

The Plymouth and South Devon freezone would aim to create space for businesses to import goods and materials, add value to them (by manufacture), and export them and leverage Plymouth’s marine innovation strengths to attract big marine sector tech companies.  Industry giants Babcock and Princess Yachts have already backed the bid.

A key factor in the bid is the city’s commitment to high tech marine innovation with a focus on carbon zero technology.

Up to 1,000 new jobs could be created in the first two years and up to 9,000 over the next 10 years and 50 new apprenticeships and 10 internships every year by 2027. 

More than 70 local businesses are expected to benefit from the scheme, which is forecast to bring in over £100m investment in the next six years.

Find out more here

Outdoor seating fees waived to help businesses bounce back

Cafes, restaurants and pubs across the city will be able put seats and tables outside for free as part of a move to help business bounce back.

The Council is waiving its licence fee - for the second year running - to help local businesses all trying to get back to a sense of normality.

All being well, cafés and bars are currently counting down the hours to a reopening date of April 12, when they will be able to put out tables and chairs again. But they will still have to make sure social distancing measures are in place.

Councillor Mark Coker, cabinet member for strategic planning and infrastructure said: “We want to help wherever we can get the city centre open and our smaller district shopping centres come back to life safely.”

Providing the application looks ok, the council will give the green light within five days. (There will still be a formal 10 day consultation for new applicants - so that fire and police can be consulted). The new permit will last until 31 March 2022.

Find out more here

New video content to help keep your business moving

Doing business with Europe has changed. You need to follow new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring.  

All businesses can find out what has changed, and check their preparations, by visiting new video content from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The short, on-demand videos cover 18 topics, including importing and exporting, rules of origin and audit and accounting. 

Click here to immediately access the video content.

Have your say on a future network of Journey Hubs across the city

Plymouth City Council has launched a consultation on ambitious plans to install a network of Journey Hubs, designed to make travelling around the city cleaner and greener.

To help curb emissions and encourage residents and visitors to use low carbon modes of transport, the Council aims to install up to 50 Journey Hubs across Plymouth by 2023. Each hub will provide electric vehicle (EV) charging points, e-bikes, an EV car club and links to public transport. The scheme also includes plans for the UK’s first sea-going electric ferry.

At this first stage, the Council wants to find out from local people how they move about the city and how the public could benefit from a network of Journey Hubs. The next stage will be when we start asking where these hubs should be located throughout Plymouth, this will be later this year.

The Council plans to install smaller hubs in residential areas and larger hubs offering more features in the City Centre and main railway station.

Local residents, employees, businesses and visitors will be able to use the hubs to plan their journeys on public and shared transportation, both in the city and on the main routes into Devon and Cornwall.

The Council’s Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan sets out ambitions for a minimum of 26,700 new homes and at least 20,000 new jobs by 2034. This level of development will have a significant impact on Plymouth's transportation systems and carbon emissions. Journey Hubs will strategically connect existing public transport across Plymouth, providing low carbon transport options for local journeys, intercity travel or to areas not covered by public transport. They will also help the city address the Climate Emergency which was declared by the Council in March 2019.

The consultation on Journey Hubs closes at 5pm on Wednesday 24 March 2021.

Further information on the council’s Journey Hub plans and how to respond to our consultation can be found on our Journey Hubs web page.

Virtual events/webinars

For further information on the latest events, visit Invest Plymouth's event page.

If you have a Plymouth event you'd like promoted, you can submit your own events here.


Water safety webinar

Plymouth Harbour Authorities | Thursday 18 March, 7pm

As the summer season approaches, Plymouth Harbour Authorities invite you to join them on Thursday 18 March at 7pm for a virtual 'meet and greet' and Q&A session about water safety within the Cattewater and Plymouth Sound.

Four guest speakers representing diving, OWS, stand-up paddleboarding and PWC will each chat about their individual disciplines and the importance of water safety.

Representatives from the QHM, Plymouth Pilotage Service, RNLI, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre and the Wave After Wave initiative will also be available to answer any questions.

To attend the Zoom meeting, please email to request joining instructions.


Plymouth’s ‘Inspiring Careers Shaping the Future’ online event

Plymouth City Council/LikeToBe | Thursday 25 March 

Our city wide event will be delivered through LikeToBe which is an online Careers Event Network helping to introduce students to professional online networking and creates regular employer engagement. This free event will host a scheduled series of livestreams, workshops, and career talks, all offering need-to-know information on our growth sectors, self-employment, business planning, CV building, and much more

Find out more here


Plymouth Startup Weekend Culture & Tourism

University of Plymouth | 23 to 25 April

In collaboration with partners and experts from a range of business backgrounds we're inviting creative people from all across Plymouth, and beyond, to join us for another online Startup Weekend with a focus on Culture and Tourism. We want to find those new and innovative ideas that will make Plymouth THE cultural destination of 2022 and help bring them to life.With this event, we'll be focusing on solving problems and filling gaps related to arts, music, tourism and more...

It's time for the innovators and changemakers to shine! Let your own experiences or desire to travel inspire you. Whether you have ideas to improve experiences for tourists visiting Plymouth, the next cultural attraction itself, or to make travel around the world easier, the ultimate objective of this event is to empower you to take any idea from concept to creation!

Find out more here

Funding streams/competitions

Government announces £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund aims to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

SMEs who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.

It has been set up to support businesses prepare for the new import controls coming into force from April and July, as set out in the Border Operating Model. Having taken back control of our borders, we made the pragmatic decision to introduce new import controls in three stages up to 1 July 2021 to allow traders and hauliers time to adjust to new processes. This means businesses do not have to complete new import declarations for up to six months, unless they are moving controlled goods.

Find out more here


HSBC Unveils £15 billion fund to help SMEs recover from pandemic

HSBC’s £15 billion lending fund has been established to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) innovate, grow and achieve their future goals. It reflects the bank’s commitment to supporting businesses through economic uncertainty and recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The fund, which includes over £10 billion of specific regionally focused allocations, will seek to ensure that companies throughout the country can benefit, supporting regional economies, employment opportunities and driving growth.

Find out more and apply 


Increased support for fishing and shellfish businesses

The Government has announced enhanced financial support for the seafood industry with cash grants for seafood and aquaculture businesses across the UK,

In January, the Government made available £23 million for seafood exporters that suffered a financial loss because of delays related to the export of fresh or live fish and shellfish to the EU during January 2021,

Defra will now be expanding the eligibility criteria to target catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses which have been affected by a reduction in demand from the hospitality sector in the UK and abroad, as well as disruption of exports to the EU,

Read the January £23m fund announcement here and full announcement here.


SHAKE Climate Change Programme Reopens for Food and Agri Firms

The SHAKE Climate Change programme is designed to attract entrepreneurs or start-ups that have developed early stage science or tech-based ideas that can have a significant impact on climate change. The programme will also form the basis of a sustainable and socially responsible business within the agri-food (farming and food) sector.

The programme has a total financial budget of £3.5 million. Over its lifespan, 15 successful ventures will each receive up to a total of £140,000, provided as a convertible interest-free loan. They will also receive two years’ high-quality training and mentoring from leading experts in business and science, to help further develop their ventures.

The scheme is now open for applications for Cohort 3. The deadline to apply is midnight on 3 May 2021.

Find out more here


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