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Support for County Durham businesses

Published December 15, 2020 12.02pm


We have allocated grants totalling more than £1.3 million to businesses impacted by Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

We began issuing the first Tier 3 support payments on Friday (11 December) and by Monday evening, 2,007 grants had been paid with a combined value of £1,361,500. This is in line with Government guidance, which states they should be paid fortnightly in arrears.

For this latest round of grants, businesses do not have to make a new claim, as we have been contacting those who are eligible.

Do not miss out

However, we are yet to receive applications from a number of businesses that may be eligible for previous grant schemes and are concerned they may be missing out on vital funding. Aimed at helping businesses deal with the effects of local and national coronavirus restrictions, these schemes covered the period of 18 September to 4 November, when County Durham was subject to Tier 2 restrictions, and 5 November to 2 December, when the national lockdown was in force.

Since 12 November, we have allocated grants totalling £8.8 million to 5,459 businesses through these schemes, including just over £2.9 million of support to hospitality businesses in the county. We are keen other eligible businesses claim what they are entitled to and have sent reminder letters to those yet to apply.

Lobbying for extra support

Cllr Carl Marshall, our Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "We know 2020 has been incredibly challenging for businesses, especially those in the retail and hospitality sectors which in normal times would be enjoying their busiest period of the year.

"If your business was affected by the previous local and national restrictions and you are eligible for support please don't miss out on the grants available. By applying for these grants, you may not only receive funding to help make up for some of the losses experienced earlier in the year, but you may be automatically eligible to receive additional support while the county remains in Tier 3.

"We welcome the extension of these grant schemes and have worked hard to put the processes in place to allocate this funding as soon as the details were made available by the Government.

"However, these grants do not go far enough and there are many businesses across the county who have not been able to access support because they simply haven't qualified. We will continue to lobby ministers to provide the support our retail and hospitality sectors desperately need to overcome the challenges they face and safeguard the jobs of tens of thousands of people."

As well as the latest national grants, the council and other North East organisations are offering a range of support programmes for businesses. To find out more, visit the Business Durham Covid-19 Support Brochure. Advice and information about support for tourism businesses is available on the Visit County Durham Covid-19 page.

Available grants

In line with Government guidance, the following grants are currently available to businesses that remain closed now the county is in Tier 3:

  • Eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks.
  • Eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of more than £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks.
  • Eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1,500 per two weeks.

Businesses that were able to reopen when the county moved into Tier 3 but are severely impacted by the restrictions may also be eligible for support. Again, these businesses do not need to reapply if they have previously received a grant and we will contact them to arrange the payments.

In line with Government guidance, the following grants are available under this scheme:

  • Eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of up to £467 per two weeks.
  • Eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of more than £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of up to £700 per two weeks.
  •  Eligible businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above will receive grants of up to £1,050 per two weeks.

More information on the grants available to businesses can be found on the Covid-19 support grants for businesses page.

Additional support for some pubs

In addition to this, the Government has now confirmed the details of a new scheme offering extra grants of £1,000 to pubs and bars that do not serve meals or where the turnover from meals is less than 50 per cent of their income. We are now developing the system needed to process applications and will be contacting businesses to invite them to make an application. Publicans are advised to keep checking the Covid-19 support grants for businesses page for further information.