Councillor Tudor Evans Leader of Plymouth City Council, and portfolio holder for Economic Development, shares an update on the support that the Council has delivered to businesses this week, and the focus for the coming week.
Shop4Plymouth – help us spread the word!
Last week we launched Shop4Plymouth, a new online marketplace to support Plymouth’s local retail businesses and promote shopping locally during the current pandemic.
Since launching the website has had over 34,000 page views and social media posts about the initiative have reached over 42,000 people so far.
I’d like to say a big thank you to the teams at Plymouth City Council, Plymouth City Centre Company and Plymouth Waterfront Partnership for getting Shop4Plymouth set up and helping to get it off the ground. It’s an incredible effort and already since launching an additional 90 businesses have been added to the site, meaning that there are now over 130 businesses from across the whole of the city listed, showcasing their diversified offers for people to shop locally, safely and at home with more being added all the time.
For this to make a real difference to these businesses we need you to use this site, to shop locally and to share your messages using #shop4plymouth to spread the word. And if you know of a local business who is offering an online, delivery or socially distanced shopping offer who isn’t listed encourage them to get in touch to benefit from this completely free platform.
See all of the great businesses listed offering everything from fresh fruit and veg and essentials to hot meals, flowers, plants and even Gin! www.shop4plymouth.co.uk
As mentioned last week our focus this week has been on reaching eligible businesses who haven’t yet applied for their business grants.
Over the past week our team has managed to track down a large number of these businesses to make sure that they are aware they can apply for business grant support. This is making great progress and we’re now continuing to focus on the remaining 800 businesses yet to apply, with over 3,100 business grant applications received and over £35.8 million in grant payments paid out directly to Plymouth businesses.
We’ve been working to find a solution for tenants at Plymouth City Council owned business parks to enable those businesses previously ineligible due to packaged rent and rates to be able to apply for grants. Thanks to the efforts of our hard working teams in commercial property and at the business parks I’m pleased to share that this is making progress and we anticipate that another 100 businesses are now able to apply for this much needed support.
Grants now open for fishing industry – but fight for support goes on
This week the £1 million grant scheme to support seafood businesses to sell their catch opened for applications. Seafood businesses can now bid for funds for assets and infrastructure to help them sell their catch through schemes similar to the highly successful Call4Fish initiative set up here in Plymouth and now nationwide supporting fishers to sell catch direct to consumers.
This is part of the £10 million fund for England’s fishing and aquaculture sectors announced by Defra and HM Treasury, but more needs to be done and we are continuing to lobby for increased support for this important industry.
We’re specifically lobbying to address the real hardship being experienced by fishers. We are asking for a scheme to address specific issues such as, support for shell fishing, keeping the supply chain open and a request for Government to step in and regulate the market to set a price for fish.
Call4Fish has continued to attract lots of national media interest this week having been featured on Sky News to showcase the innovative way the site is bringing fish from quay to kerb to support local fishers and keeping them fishing.
Our lobbying focus continues to fight for small businesses who have fallen through the gaps of Government support measures.
We’re pushing for greater flexibility in the small business grant scheme, as there are still a lot of businesses that don’t qualify and it’s anticipated that nationally there will be an underspend on the business grant allocation. Rather than return the money to government, we’re asking for greater flexibility on the criteria for the business grants so that we can intervene and help more businesses.
We’re also lobbying for improved support and response from private lenders, following up on feedback from businesses applying for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes that banks are not responding quickly enough in the application process.
We welcomed the news this week that the Bounceback loan scheme for small and medium sized businesses, but if this is truly to be a support for businesses it’s crucial that private lenders are being fair and complying with the guidelines laid out by Government.