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New business support grants for SMEs launched

June 5, 2020

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A new discretionary fund worth over £3 million is launched today (Friday 5 June), for businesses who fell outside the scope of the Government’s previous emergency business grant schemes.

An additional 600 businesses are set to benefit from grants of £5,000 which will include:

  • Small businesses that operate from shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates;
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for Employment & Culture at Newcastle City Council said: “We know businesses across the city are really struggling and we are pleased that we can launch this new fund today to help support our local economy.

“This discretionary fund is for the many small businesses that missed out on previous funds, such as the high proportion of our city’s businesses that operate out of shared workspaces.

“Government has set the parameters of this funding and we’ve further developed it, to ensure we can get cash to as many businesses as we can.

“This fund will also support owners of B&Bs who couldn’t take in any guests due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as some market traders and the charity sector, which support the most vulnerable people in our city.

“We need to stress that this funding, unlike previous grants, will need to be capped at around 600 businesses so we would urge businesses to act fast before it is all allocated.”

“We will be announcing further support measures for businesses worth £1.5 million in the next couple of weeks.

“These are challenging times for SMEs but Newcastle City Council is committed to doing all we can to support them through this economic and health crisis.”

Full details on eligibility and how to apply are available at

The funding is to help businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grants or the retail, hospitality and leisure grants, who received grants of £10,000 or £25,000 which has helped over 4,000 local businesses with funds of £54 million.

Due to the limited finding available, the council is cautioning that funding will be released in order of application.

The council is also keen to stress that businesses who 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.

Although this is a discretionary fund, Newcastle City Council has followed government’s guidance on eligibility criteria.  As the city has many businesses who fit the criteria, the grant is set at £5,000 to ensure a greater spread across the city and which best meets the need of the local economy.

This is down to the higher proportion on businesses operating from shared or flexible workspaces, which is typical in cities such as Newcastle. As many small businesses operating within these spaces do not have an individual rating for Business Rates, they were ineligible for the previous grant schemes, which has left Newcastle businesses, particularly those based in the city centre, disproportionately affected.

Estimates also show that 18% of businesses eligible for a grant through the Small Business Grant or retail, hospitality and leisure grant funds have yet to take up their allocation. They can still access this at

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.

Advice for businesses is available at:

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