More than 39,000 Covid business grants awarded to Northumberland firms during pandemic

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More than £209 million was paid out to keep Northumberland businesses afloat during the Covid pandemic, it has been revealed.

Between March 2020 and April 2022, more than 39,000 individual payments were sent out by the county council in the form of Covid business grants.

The money was provided by government to support businesses, particularly those most impacted by lockdown restrictions designed to protect individuals and the NHS from the pandemic.

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In Northumberland, 88% of grants were paid out to “mirco businesses” – those with between 0 and nine employees, while 9.9% went out to small businesses (10-49 employees.” Just 1% went to both medium and large businesses.

Deputy council leader Richard Wearmouth.Deputy council leader Richard Wearmouth.
Deputy council leader Richard Wearmouth.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of funds went to the accommodation and food service sector. The service received 58% of funding, with other service activities receiving 17% and entertainment and recreation businesses receiving 8%.

Speaking at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s corporate services and economic growth committee, councillors were unanimous in their praise for the team officers from across multiple departments who got the grants to businesses.

Speaking at the meeting, deputy leader Coun Richard Wearmouth said: “It has been a huge undertaking. I’m sure you will all join me in thanking the team.

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“The reason it was particularly large for Northumberland is the sheer number of micro businesses.

“We can see where some of that support fell – large amounts fell to the Berwick constituncy, where there are lots of small B&Bs who would simply not have got through the pandemic without the swiftness and effectiveness of the delivery.”