April 15, 2020 @ 12:58 by Alison Cowie
South Tyneside Council has paid out £17 million in financial support to businesses struggling due of the coronavirus outbreak.
The council set up a dedicated hub to help local firms unlock government grants and other vital financial aid and has contacted all eligible businesses in the borough.
It has already made payments of one-off grants to 1480 businesses that have made applications online.
Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “The business community is facing profound challenges currently and we have been doing all we can to support our local firms.
“We know that swift action is vital to support cash flow and protect jobs and we’ve been focusing on making sure help gets to those who need it, as quickly as possible.
“The team at the hub has been providing businesses with the advice and targeted support they need and are entitled to, to protect their livelihoods.
“They’ve been working hand-in-hand to help them access any financial assistance which will allow them to continue to operate through this crisis and beyond.”
There is a range of financial support available, including a £10,000 payment to small businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) as of March 11.
Care Outcomes, a home healthcare service based at Boldon Business Park, is one such business.
Director Jo Ivison said: “This will make such a difference to allow us to continue supporting the vulnerable within our communities.”
Many other businesses have contacted the team to say thank you for its help in accessing help quickly.
Joyce Scott, Director of Hebburn-based Monarch Home Improvements, said: “Just want to thank you so much for all your help and support in these very worrying times – our grant arrived into our bank very swiftly without any problems at all and for that we would like to commend you all.”
All businesses that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount – which covers retail, hospitality and leisure – are also entitled to a grant.
Business rates for this financial year have been waived for those in receipt of small business rate relief and all businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.
Cllr Malcolm added: “Our businesses, large and small are the backbone of our economy and vital to the prosperity of the borough and we are doing all we can to help them through these extremely challenging times.”
The Business Hub can be contacted on 0191 481 3456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about available support, visit https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/