Council lobbying Government on more support for businesses
17 Apr 2020 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Northumberland County Council is lobbying the Government to bring forward further measures to support businesses across Northumberland.
The council is working extremely hard to get grant payments to businesses as quickly as possible, and have already paid out over £59.5m of the Government's business grants funds to 5,310 companies.
Unfortunately, there are a small proportion of businesses who are not eligible under the conditions of the grant schemes, and the Council is exploring every opportunity to urge the Government to develop financial support to those that aren’t eligible for the current schemes, and to influence further measures and provision.
Cllr Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council says: “Our businesses are absolutely critical to the future prosperity of the county.
“It is a very challenging time for our businesses and employers, and we want to assure them that we are doing everything that we possibly can to provide help, support and advice.
“That is why I have written to the Chancellor urging the Government to consider further packages of support to small businesses that are falling between the cracks, to provide vital support that they need.
The council has set up a dedicated Covid-19 Business Hub with a specialist team providing valuable signposting and advice for those struggling due to the current circumstances.
However, despite best efforts to help businesses survive, the Business Support Hub is seeing an increasing number of businesses who are being overlooked in the available funding schemes.
Of particular concern are businesses in the county’s tourism sector.
Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, heritage, tourism, libraries, leisure, sport and voluntary services said: “Tourism is the bedrock of Northumberland’s economy, contributing over £1 billion and attracting over 10 million visitors to the county last year, which given the current circumstances, will be greatly reduced this year.
“It is therefore vital we do everything we can to support these businesses which will help lead the economic recovery once current restrictions are eased.”
This could include, for example, tapered support for small businesses that fall outside eligibility for business rates relief, as well as provisions to ensure business rate relief for landlords also benefits their commercial tenants.
The Leader added: “The Council stands ready to work with the Government to ensure the right support gets to those businesses most in need at this time, and encourage them to look at a comprehensive package that strengthens our local economy and our recovery.”
The council is encouraging business owners to get in touch with its dedicated Covid-19 Business Hub team by visiting www.northumberland.gov.uk/coronavirus/Support-for-Businesses-coronavirus