Business

Dartmoor National Park is not just an iconic landscape, it is home to a diverse spectrum of businesses that make a vital contribution to Dartmoor's success.

Agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation account for around a third of employment and a quarter of turnover on Dartmoor.  These sectors have strong links to both the National Park purposes of conservation and enjoyment and we work alongside them to support sustainable growth.

Advice for Dartmoor businesses (Coronavirus (COVID-19))

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is already impacting business on Dartmoor and has the potential to significantly impact our rural economy.

Government statements on movement and travel, and business closures will impact our communities and business, but must be adhered to. All pubs, restaurants and cafes etc. should now be closed, along with leisure centres and theatres etc. On Sunday 22 March, Government issued clear advice against non-essential travel including visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Ignoring this instruction puts additional pressure on rural communities and services that are already at risk.

As of Monday 23 March, Government has announced that people should stay home and stay safe. Exercise should be undertaken from home; members of the public should not be travelling to Dartmoor National Park. Our car parks, toilets and visitor centres are now closed.

Whilst we as a National Park Authority are not in a position to provide legal advice or to provide public health advice, we can help share the various resources available for local businesses.

SCAMS: Please also ensure that you get your advice from official sources. There is an increase in fraudsters seeking to exploit the current situation.

The Government announced in the March 2020 budget a range of measures to help support businesses during these times. These were added to in the Chancellor’s statement on the 17 March and in further following statements. Measures announced to date include:

  • Giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rate holiday for 12 months for the 2020/2021 financial year. This will be administered respectively by your local district/borough council (please see links at the bottom of this page).
  • Providing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief of £10,000 and providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises. These will be administered respectively by your local district/borough council (please see links at the bottom of this page).
  • Tailored opportunities to review and agree payment plans for tax liabilities for businesses and the self-employed. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
  • Bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium enterprises/employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19, with two weeks Statutory Sick Pay per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
  • Mortgage lenders have agreed to support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19 through payment holidays of up to 3 months.
  • Planning requirements are relaxed to support the food and drink industry offering alternative take away services without the need for a planning application.
  • Launching a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme of up to £5m, and ensuring businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.
  • The government is setting up a job retention scheme whereby employers can get a grant of 80% of the wages of staff that are not working up to a limit of £2,500 per month.
  • VAT for all businesses will be deferred until the end of June and businesses will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.
  • Protection for Commercial Tenants against eviction from landlords.

Local Response

Many businesses are demonstrating how adaptable, creative and resilient they are, supporting their local communities and protecting their employees in these difficult times. More detailed information on the measures described above is available on Local Authority websites. There are links to these below.

The NHS is also seeking Volunteer Responders. You can sign up online and support those most vulnerable in your communities.

Planning for recovery

We have postponed the Moor Otters Arts Trail until later in the year. We hope to re-launch it as part of our business support recovery plan as and when restrictions are lifted.

We recognise that there will be a lot of work ahead to support our communities and businesses as restrictions begin to lift.  Please contact us, and share with us your thoughts and ideas on forwardplanning@dartmoor.gov.uk.

There is a survey which has been set up to evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 virus on tourism and hospitality businesses in the region during the month of March 2020.

Helpful links