A £14 million scheme to support Newcastle businesses through the latest lockdown measures is launched by Newcastle City Council.
With thousands of businesses forced to close due to national lockdown, as well as businesses severely impacted by Tier Two restrictions, Newcastle City Council is urging business owners to apply at www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport for fast access to vital funds.
Three different grants are available to cover businesses from 18 September until the 2 December, when national lockdown restrictions are expected to be lifted. Eligible businesses are required to complete a single online form to access all available funding to them, with payments reaching their back accounts within ten working days.
Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council said: “The forced closure of many of our businesses through national lockdown has been incredibly difficult and challenging, particularly in the run up to the Christmas period when till bells should be ringing.
“Our fantastic bars, pubs and restaurants which usually welcome visitors from all over the world, have faced really difficult trading conditions, as well as additional demands placed on them during Tier Two restrictions to ensure they were Covid-secure. This has severely impacted their takings and no doubt will have a knock-on effect on employment.
“Government may have announced these funds weeks ago, but councils only received the funding in the last few days and we have acted fast to make the process really straightforward, as we know there are incredible strains and pressures on business owners, and we don’t want to add to this with red-tape at a time when they need us most.
“This funding only covers up to 2 December, and we don’t yet know what further restrictions could be in place after that date but we’re committed to supporting our local economy, and will continue to lobby government for greater support for business to save jobs and keep Newcastle businesses trading.”
Adrian Waddell, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd, said: “As with the first lockdown and management of the first tranche of support funding NE1 will again be working hand in glove with the council to help make sure funding is distributed quickly and efficiently. We would urge all businesses who are eligible to register online via the Council portal.
“We know that businesses have been hit hard and that the funds available will not cover the heavy losses many have sustained, but we do hope that the money available might be enough to help businesses bridge the gap between now and when they can trade freely, safely and profitably. In the meantime, we will do all we can to support businesses through these challenging times.”
Government has instructed local authorities to administer grant support for businesses in the following categories.
Depending on their rateable value, businesses forced to close can receive grants of up to a maximum of £3,000 to support them through the four-week national lockdown restrictions, including non-essential shops, personal care sector such as hairdressers, and pubs, bars and restaurants who have to change how they operate to take-away services only.
Funding is also available to prop up the city’s hospitality and leisure venues, including B&Bs, which were impacted by Two Tier restrictions due to additional social distancing measures. This funding covers the period from 18 September, up to 4 November. Larger venues can receive grants worth £3,675, medium-sized operators can expect £2,450, and smaller venues receiving £1,634.50.
Smaller top-up grants are also available for nightclubs and dance halls, who have had to remain closed since March.
The £14 million support package is in addition to £61.5 million that the council administered to 5,300 businesses earlier in the year.
As well as providing business support grants, the council is also working on plans to support traders during the Christmas period and encourage people back safely into the city centre.