June 3, 2020 @ 11:01 by Alison Cowie
Newcastle City Council has welcomed additional funding to support local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.
A new discretionary fund worth over £3 million, will be released for businesses that have fallen outside the scope of the Government’s previous emergency business grant schemes. This means an additional 600 local businesses is set to benefit from grants of £5000.
They include small businesses that operate from shared offices or other flexible workspaces, regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment; bed and breakfasts, which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief.
Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for Employment and Culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “Businesses across the city are really struggling and we need to support as many as we can, to help the city recover and protect local jobs and the economy.
“We’ve lobbied hard for additional support for businesses and we are pleased that this funding, although limited, is now available.
“This discretionary fund is for the many small businesses that fell through the cracks of the previous funds. Government has set the parameters of this funding and we’ve further developed it, focusing on our local business needs to get cash to as many businesses as we can.
“As with larger cities, we have many businesses that operate in shared workspaces, and it was important we tailored our support to help this disproportionately affected sector.
“This fund will support businesses based within managed workspaces such as our talented creative sector, operators of B&Bs impacted by the fall in visitors to the city, some market traders as well as the charity sector, who the most vulnerable in our city rely on.
“Sadly, demand is likely to be higher than funds Government has made available, so we would urge businesses to act fast as, even if you meet the criteria, we can only allocate funding to around 600 businesses.
“These are difficult and challenging times for business and our business support teams will work tirelessly to get this funding to you. We are all in this together, so please get in touch as we’re here to help.”
Newcastle City Council is keen to stress that businesses that were eligible from any other Central Government COVID-19 related scheme are ineligible. This does not include those who are eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.
The scheme will launch on June 5 at 10 am. Full details on eligibility and how to apply are available at www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport