Finance information for Exmoor Businesses

Finance and Grant Funding

North Devon Coast AONB Small Grant Scheme

Community groups, businesses and farmers can apply to the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (AONB) small grant scheme, otherwise known as the Sustainable Development Fund.

Applications are encouraged from those carrying out projects that bring an environmental, economic, social or educational benefit to the AONB.

Grants can cover up to 75% of the project cost, and range in size from £100 up to £4,000 for an exceptional project. Applications are open until December 2021. Check out the AONB Management Plan for the full list of policies and priorities.

The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) Grants

New grants to boost tourism

The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) is offering grants to help fund business projects aimed at boosting tourism in the West Somerset and Sedgemoor area.

Led by Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT), the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme has been set up by the HTAP partners in response to the impact on tourism from Covid.

The value of tourism towards Somerset’s economy is substantial. Prior to the pandemic, 23 million day trips and 2.6 million overnight stays helped generate £1.3bn each year, in turn providing employment for 10 per cent of the county’s total workforce.

Tourism is even more significant in West Somerset and Sedgemoor, accounting for 40 per cent of all staying visitor activity across the county.

The new grant scheme is specifically designed to support SMEs in offering a greater range of visitor products and experiences. Grants between £5,000 and £10,000 will be made available to businesses and organisations operating in the tourism, hospitality and events sector.

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals aligning with HTAP’s strategic aims by contributing towards industry growth and the local economy. Where possible, proposals should promote a ‘green’ visitor experience by being sustainable and less reliant on carbon.

The HTAP partners are also looking for creative and innovative experiences which are new to the area. Inspiration for projects can be sought from other regions or internationally, providing they suit the area’s natural resources and have not been adopted previously.

Above all, they must create a lasting legacy by being inclusive, providing an exceptional welcome and creating positive perceptions for the greater area.

Qualifying projects may fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Higher-spend customer markets
  • Genuinely new service provision
  • Shoulder season visitor opportunities
  • New networks or partnerships that consolidate activity into a package that enhances the visitor experience

Applications for the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme will open week commencing 12 July 2021 until 10 September 2021, or until all the funding has been allocated.

The scheme is open to applicants based in the Somerset West and Taunton and Sedgemoor district council areas. Applicants are required to match-fund a minimum 10 per cent of the awarded grant.

Any small business partnerships or networks looking to apply should visit SWT’s Hinkley tourism partnership webpage.

Rural Renaissance Rural Services Grants

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on many rural communities in Somerset. To help businesses build back to their pre-Covid levels, Somerset County Council are launching a Rural Services Grant Fund as part of their Economic Recovery package. Grants of up to £5,000 (80% of project costs) are now available to assist service businesses in rural areas to move forward and become more sustainable. A business will need to provide 20% of their own match funding.

The Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab

The Impact Lab provides deep technical assistance to Devon SMEs that have a big data and/or environmental future opportunity to address in order to grow to the next level. This is achieved through a substantial package of fully funded support which will be tailored to the need of your business and project.

Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme

The Prince’s Trust work with 18 to 30-year-olds to turn big ideas into a business reality through their Enterprise programme. From training and mentoring support to funding and resources, they’re with you every step of the way.

Start Up Loans - Small Business

A government funded scheme to provide advice, loans of up to £25,000 and mentoring to startup businesses.

Restart Grants - Information from Somerset West & Taunton

You may be aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a Restart Grant scheme in his Budget statement.

These grants will be payable to non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses, within the business rates system, to help them get through to June 21.  The Government has published a guide to the Restart scheme , Annex C of which provides details of the types of businesses that are eligible for this scheme.
We expect to receive funding from the Government during the week commencing 5 April. In the meantime we are currently preparing pre-payment bank and company checks (required by Government) as well as designing a short confirmatory email process which we aim to send to businesses that have previously received a grant from us,  that may be eligible to receive a Restart Grant, around 9 April.
We anticipate being able to start to make Restart Grant payments around 16 April. Payment will be made to the person / business named on the Council’s business rates system for the premises concerned at 1 April 2021.
For businesses within the rating system that meet the criteria within the guide,  that have NOT received a business support grant from the Council since November 2020, it will be necessary to firstly complete a Register of Interest form via our website.

This step is not required for businesses that have received a business support grant  from the Council since November 2020. 

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) - Information from Somerset West & Taunton

Businesses which are not eligible for a ‘Restart Grant’ may still be eligible for support under the Additional Restrictions Grant. However in April 2021 the policy will be reassessed to align with the easing of restrictions which are expected over April and May 2021. We expect the new scheme policy to be in place by mid-April, at which time we will publicise the scheme. If you have previously completed a Register of Interest form and received a payment from us under the ARG there is no need to reapply we will be in contact if your business is eligible under the new policy.

For businesses that have not received support from the Council since November 2020 it will be necessary to firstly complete a Register of Interest form via our website. 

Help to Grow: Management

Take your business to the next level with the government’s new Help to Grow programme. The programme will help small and medium sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits.

What is it?
– From June, small businesses will be able to access a 12 week-programme delivered by leading business schools across the UK. The programme will combine a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network.
– Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, this programme will support small business leaders to develop their strategic skills with key modules covering financial management, innovation and digital adoption. By the end of the programme participants will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead their business to its full potential.
– 30,000 places will be available over 3 years. The programme is 90% subsidised by government – participants will be charged £750.
Who is it for?
– UK businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than 1 year, with between 5 to 249 employees are eligible.
– The participant should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business e.g. Chief Executive, Finance Director etc.

– Charities are not eligible.

Pay As You Grow

New Pay As You Grow facility will enable more flexible repayments on Bounce Back Loans for UK smaller businesses. The British Business Bank, the UK’s economic development bank, has announced further details of Pay As You Grow, which helps UK smaller businesses that have taken out a Covid-19 emergency Bounce Back Loan to manage their cashflow and have a better chance of getting back to growth. 

FCA Business Interruption Policy Checker and FAQ

Following the Supreme Court test case on a range of business Interruption insurance policies, the FCA has produced a Policy Checker which takes businesses through a process whereby they can check to see whether their insurance policy covers business interruption losses due to coronavirus. It should be noted that each claim will still need to be individually considered to determine whether the policy provides cover for the effects of coronavirus. Policyholders will need to check:

– the extent of their cover including how long it covers them for (length of their indemnity period)
– what losses are included – such as loss of profit, fixed costs or increased costs of working
Additionally, the FCA had also developed a FAQs which gives business further information on:
– How to make a claim
– The disease clauses in policies
– What to do if they have already made a claim or complaint

– What they can claim for. 

Support Finder Tool

The Government has launched a support finder tool which can be useful for businesses directing employees to individual support which may be available from government on paying rent, mortgage, financial support, self-isolating, mental health and wellbeing or more general concerns about Covid.

Temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

5% Reduced Rate: In response to the economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, HMRC has announced a reduction in the rate of VAT to 5%, affecting hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions. The reduced rate covers the period from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021.

Read more:

Revenue and Customs Brief 10 (2020): temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

VAT: reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

VAT on admission charges to attractions 

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