May 7, 2020 @ 17:09 by Alison Cowie
More than 4000 Newcastle businesses have received vital cash grants totalling over £50 million to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched just over five weeks ago, the city council’s business support service has provided grants of £10,000 or £25,000 to businesses who receive small business rates relief or are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector.
Hundreds more are set to benefit after the Government announced more funds to help small businesses who were not eligible for the scheme, with details expected to be confirmed in the next few days.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of the Council (pictured), said: “We’re committed to supporting the city’s businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Our SMEs are a vital part of our local economy and providing them with fast access to grants has been a key priority for us.
“It’s testament to our hard-working staff that we’ve processed thousands of grants worth £50 million.
“We welcome the fact that the Government has listened to our concerns and widened the scope of funding so we can help more businesses get through this economic and health crisis, which is threatening the future of so many of our local traders.
“I have been pushing the Government for clarity on the additional funding to be made available for our small and medium-sized businesses. The details of this additional funding has yet to be made clear, but I can guarantee that as soon as we have this clarity, our teams will work tirelessly to get these much-needed funds to our small business owners.
“These are challenging and difficult times, but we are here to support local businesses and get through this unprecedented situation together and help create a strong economic foundation to build our cities recovery from.”
The announcement of an additional £617 million nationally to help support small businesses who fell outside the scope of the current grants where businesses receive small business rate relief of those in the retails, hospitality and leisure sector, we made on a call to council chiefs on May 1.
This is an additional 5 per cent uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.
Businesses are urged to go to www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport to keep up to date with the latest business support information.
The council is working closely with a range of partners, including NE1 and NGI. 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.