A North East council has announced that it is launching a £14m scheme to support local businesses through lockdown.
The Covid Business Support scheme, run by Newcastle City Council, will provide three different types of grants to businesses in the area.
The funds are available to cover businesses until 2 December, when lockdown measures are expected to be lifted, and will cover needs backdated to 18 September.
Businesses are being urged to apply for the scheme via the online form, available on the council’s website.
Grants will be made available to non-essential shops forced to close through lockdown, as well as hairdressers and hospitality venues such as pubs.
There will also be funds available to leisure venues such as B&Bs, with smaller top-up grants for nightclubs.
Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, commented: “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.”
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