Newcastle

‘Excluded’ Newcastle businesses to benefit from new support fund

SMEs who weren’t eligible for government Coronavirus funding are being encouraged to apply for a new scheme from Newcastle City Council.

Round 2 of the council’s discretionary fund will launch on 27 July, with the aim of arming 250 SMEs with grants of up to £5k.

Eligibility for the scheme has been widened since Round 1, meaning more businesses in the region will benefit.

Criteria for the funding includes operating from recognised businesses premises such as an office or industrial unit, while those who are based at home but have a regular commercial property cost – such as storage, a market licence, hot desking or room hire – are also eligible.

Additionally, owners of bed and breakfasts who pay council tax instead of business rates can apply for Round 2, despite being excluded from Round 1.

Only those who haven’t received other forms of financial support from the government will be eligible.

The council has said it expects high demand for grants from the discretionary fund, which will have provided £3.2m to local businesses when both rounds close.

Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “These are difficult times for small business owners; many had to suddenly stop trading overnight and are grappling challenging issues such as lack of cash flow, staff redundancies and lost customers.

“Round 2 is about providing a vital cash lifeline to our local firms who would otherwise go under, as they were excluded from earlier grants. If you applied for previous grants and were turned down, then you may be eligible for this new fund.

“We want Newcastle businesses to know we are here to support them. Our business support team will provide fast access to this grant, typically within ten days on receipt of application, as well as providing support and advice to get our local economy going again.”

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