Over £49m in support grants paid out to over 4,000 Northumberland businesses

Over £49million in grants has been paid out to 4,406 Northumberland businesses, while hundreds of companies have also been supported through a specialist advice hub.

Friday, 10th April 2020, 3:36 pm
Updated Sunday, 12th April 2020, 9:39 pm

Northumberland has become one of the top five authorities in the country for the value of grants it has paid out to small businesses to support them during the coronavirus outbreak.

This is all part of the county council’s work through the Northumberland Business Hub - which has dealt with over 750 enquiries from companies.

Over 75% of those enquiries have resulted in the business being referred to a package of financial support that is suitable for them.

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Picture c/o PA.

The most frequent form of support available has been the £10k and £25k grants for small businesses, with payouts to eligible companies from Northumberland County Council now topping £49m.

These grants are aimed at business which receive small business rate relief and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector which occupy a property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Enquirers to the Northumberland Business Hub have also been directed to the 12 months business rates holiday, the coronavirus job retention scheme, the business interruption loan scheme and to support for the self employed.

The team has dealt with enquiries from a range of types of business with the most common being the services sector, retail, food and drink and tourism. Enquiries have also come in from manufacturers, hospitality, professional and financial services and the charity sectors.

Coun Peter Jackson.

Coun Peter Jackson, council leader, said: “We know the difficulties that businesses are having during the current crisis, and I want to assure them that we are doing everything we possibly can to support them.

“The business hub that we have established is processing a large number of enquiries - signposting people to suitable support and also gathering details of issues that may not have been anticipated.

“I am delighted that we have been able to pay out such a large number of grants to support small businesses in a relatively short space of time - over £49m - in fact taking us to being one of the top five councils in the UK for the amount paid out.

“We are working very closely with Government in the hope that we can influence them to find further ways to provide help and support for businesses over the coming weeks and months.

“We are expending every effort to make sure that Northumberland can come out of this as a working and a thriving county.”

Key issues raised by those who have contacted the hub have been around immediate cash flow, falls in sales, effect on suppliers and supply chain issues, operating social distancing measures and issues with staff sickness and staff travel.

Nearly 200 people have completed a business survey through the hub, telling the team about the challenges they are facing - and providing vital information which will guide future support and recovery activities.

The specialist team at the business hub is made up of officers from Northumberland County Council and Advance Northumberland.

For full details of support available and how to make an enquiry go to www.northumberland.gov.uk/businesshub

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