Newcastle City Council already actioning support for businesses and employers affected by COVID-19

March 31, 2020 @ 8:18 by Alison Cowie

Newcastle City Council has announced it has made direct payments to more than 450 businesses to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Several loans and schemes have been made available by the Government for councils to administer. This includes grants of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, meanwhile, are eligible for a grant of £25,000 if they occupy a property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, and a grant of £10,000 if the rateable value is below £15,000.

The council has bank details of 450 eligible businesses and has made direct payments to them – with the cash lifeline available in their accounts by early next week.

The estimated 4000 businesses that are eligible for the funding are urged to register their details online at www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport for this funding to be processed. This includes businesses that are not currently paying business rates or haven’t made a payment within the last three months.

The funding available relates to each business property, which means businesses with multiple properties are required to complete a separate application for each of their properties.

After completing the form, businesses can expect payment within five to ten working days. The time period will depend on what verification checks are needed.

Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The coronavirus crisis is having an impact on every aspect of life in our city. It’s not just a public health crisis, it’s creating an economic crisis too.

“We are working hard to support our city’s businesses through the difficult times ahead, so that we not only protect jobs but position [ourselves] for the recovery when it comes.

“The Government’s announcements of help and support are an important first step. I welcome them, and we are working to ensure that they are tailored to our local circumstances. In particular, I know many of our small and medium-sized businesses – which are incredibly important to our city’s diverse economy – are struggling at the moment.

“That’s why we’ve fast-tracked payments to all those businesses we currently have relevant details for, so the cash is in their bank accounts now. I would urge all businesses to come forward and get the support you are entitled to.

“Whether you’re a market trader, a digital start-up, a garage or a corner shop – or one of the many other small businesses that serve our city – we want to do what we can to protect you, ensure your survival and enable you to flourish again as soon as the crisis is over.

“I’ll continue to work with the Government to put in place whatever support is necessary to help us all get through this.”

The council’s website has details of Government schemes and initiatives businesses may be able to access and what support is available. This includes signposting businesses to the National schemes introduced by the Chancellor on March 20 including the British Business Bank loans of up to £5 million, the commitment to cover 80 per cent of retained workers’ salaries to stop job losses and delays to VAT payments.

For those retail, hospitality and leisure businesses who pay business rates, they will also be able to benefit from a 12-month payment holiday next year. Guidance has been released by Government and council staff are aiming to process these changes as quickly as possible.

The council is working closely with a range of partners, including NE1 and NewcastleGateshead Initiative. Together they will support businesses across the city, proactively reaching out to eligible companies, signposting and gathering intelligence to help inform potential new packages where gaps are identified.

 

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