12 January 2022| | 3 min read
Cash lifeline for Newcastle businesses affected by Omicron launched
New grants aimed at supporting businesses through the latest Omicron variant have been released by Newcastle City Council.
Around 1,000 businesses are set to benefit from the next round of business grants aimed at supporting businesses that have been hard hit by reduced trade and cancellations due to fears over the spread of Omicron in the run up to Christmas.
This includes grants worth up to £6,000 for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and discretionary grants worth £2,667 for businesses who fall outside the criteria of the government grant scheme.
Cllr Joyce McCarty, cabinet member for inclusive economy said: “We know our pubs and restaurants faced a really challenging and difficult trading period in what should have been their busiest month as people cancelled events and meals out due to the threat of the latest variant.
“As people sensibly took precautions and reduced their social contacts, this has had a big hit on businesses small and large, and we want to ensure businesses get fast access to the latest round of business support grants.
“But it wasn’t just nights out that were affected, there was also a further knock on effect to businesses who fall between the cracks of the government scheme, which is why we have relaunched our Springback Fund to get support to those businesses and keep them trading. Previous Additional Restrictions Grant funding from government had all been committed and although a relatively small amount this extra fund will hopefully help some businesses.
“We’re committed to supporting our local economy, protecting jobs and livelihoods and we have the teams and processes in place to get this funding out as quickly as possible, as well as continuing to lobby government for further funding to support Newcastle businesses.”
The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant announced by the Chancellor, provides payments for businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sector, ranging from £2,667, £4,000 or £6,000 depending on the rateable value of their premises.
Government has also provided around £350,000 to the local authority through an Additional Restrictions Grant, which is being used to provide payments worth £2,667 for businesses impacted by Omicron, but do not meet the eligibility criteria of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant, such as those in the personal care, travel and sports sectors, and those without commercial premises. The Springback Round Two fund will be allocated in order in which fully completed and evidenced applications are received, so firms are urged to check the eligibility criteria and provide the correct evidence to ensure efficient payments.
Since the start of the pandemic, Newcastle City Council has administered over £125 million in business support grants and the council has the teams and processes in place to ensure fast access to payments, usually within ten working days of applications being approved.
Businesses are urged to check the eligibility criteria and apply at www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport for the latest grants. Applications for the Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grant must be received before the end of February, but the council is urging local businesses to apply now.
Other grant schemes available include the Outbreak Support Grant, which provides grants for businesses who are forced to close for three days or more due to staff self-isolating.