£51million paid out to self-employed workers in Northumberland so far - these two parts of the county have had the most support in the North East

The two North-East constituencies which received the most in the first round of Covid-19 support for the self-employed were both in rural Northumberland.

By Ben O'Connell
Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 1:24 pm
Tens of millions of pounds have been paid out in support grants for self-employed workers in Northumberland.
Tens of millions of pounds have been paid out in support grants for self-employed workers in Northumberland.

The first tranche in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), covering up to 80% of average monthly profits, closed for applications in mid-July.

The payments were designed to help self-employed workers in a similar way to the furlough scheme for employed workers, and was on top of the grants scheme available for businesses.

Government figures suggest that a total of £31.1million across 11,000 grants was paid out in Northumberland up to the end of July.

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The split across the county’s four constituencies was as follows: Berwick – 3,300 grants totalling £9.8million; Blyth Valley – 2,200 and £5.8million; Hexham – 3,400 and £9.9million; Wansbeck – 2,100 and £5.6million.

The payout figures for Berwick and Hexham were the highest of the region’s 29 constituencies.

However, the figures also show that the take-up rate in Northumberland of 75% of the potentially eligible population was the lowest proportion of the 12 local authorities in the North East.

The second and final taxable grant is worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

Applications remain open and if you are eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after July 14, 2020, you must make your claim by Monday, October 19. See https://tinyurl.com/y9m637nq for details.

So far, in the second tranche, £19.8million has been paid out in Northumberland, taking the overall total to just under £51million.

The breakdown is as follows: Berwick – 2,300 grants totalling £5.8million; Blyth Valley – 1,700 grants and £4.1million; Hexham – 2,300 and £6million; Wansbeck – 1,600 and £3.9million.

Cllr Jack Gebhard, the Conservative parliamentary spokesman for the Wansbeck constituency, has welcomed the support for the area.

”Residents across the constituency, in Ashington, Bedlington and Morpeth have had a really tough time in 2020,” he said.

“These latest figures demonstrate the scale of support that the Conservative Government has put in place to support their livelihoods.

“The Conservative Party is committed to levelling-up and helping people right here in south-east Northumberland which is vital at this tough time. Entrepreneurs whose businesses are creating jobs and contributing to our local area need all of our support at this challenging time.”

However, last week, the IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) responded to new ONS statistics showing a 154,000 drop nationally in the number of self-employed, describing it as an ‘alarming and avoidable’ fall.

CEO Derek Cribb said: “The self-employed are vital for economic recovery, but huge swathes of the sector have been undermined and left behind.

“As a second wave of coronavirus approaches, the Government must do more. We urge the Government to prepare a fair, flexible and focused extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – for the sake not only of the self-employed themselves, but also the economy.”

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