£200million offered in loans to support Northumberland businesses since start of pandemic

Northumberland businesses have been offered Government loans totalling almost £200million since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 6:00 am
Cllr Richard Wearmouth

As part of the Government’s £200billion economic response to Covid-19, firms in the county have been offered 5,500 Bounce Back Loans, totalling £151.3million.

This scheme provides 100% Government-backed loans that are interest-free for the first 12 months and aims to ensure that small firms who need cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.

In addition, 228 loans at a value of £42.6million have been offered in the county through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme, which has helped small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance of up to £5million.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cllr Richard Wearmouth, the Conservative cabinet member for business and tourism on Northumberland County Council, said: “Every sector of the Northumbrian economy has unfortunately taken a hit as a result of this virus. From tourism and hospitality to manufacturing and offshore wind, the year started so well with so much positive going on.

“Fortunately this Government has provided support to ensure that businesses and employees don’t suffer more than they have to. The Government’s levelling-up agenda has never been more important for us here in Northumberland.

“Meanwhile, I will continue to liaise with investors about prospects for economic investment and job creation to ensure that Northumberland can come out of this crisis with good news to report.”

Across the North East, a total of 39,991 Bounce Back Loans, worth £1.1billion, and 1,520 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, worth £344 million, have been provided.

However, the latest figures released earlier this week show that the region has the highest unemployment rate in the county at 6.6%, increasing by 1.4% from June to August.

There are 86,000 people classed as unemployed in the region, an increase of 18,000 over the quarter or 11,000 over the year.

Niamh Corcoran, policy adviser at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “There are a lot of firms re-opening and continuing to trade strongly, but we do have to be aware that there are very likely more redundancies to come. We haven’t seen the peak spike yet.”

She added: “The North East urgently needs stronger economic support for the hardest-hit businesses in order to protect jobs, as well as a long-term strategy for retraining and job creation. We also need to see support for our business start-ups.

“Our region needs to see swift and decisive action from the Government to avoid record unemployment and long-term economic scarring.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper.

If you can, please do pick up a copy when you are at the shops. Thank you for your support.