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Northumberland County is backing businesses after agreeing a rates relief scheme for the next four years.

The council’s Cabinet welcomed funding of more than £1.6m up to 2021 to help support almost 1,000 businesses which have been identified as facing the steepest increases in their business rates as a result of this year’s national revaluation.

In the Spring Budget the Government announced a £300m discretionary fund to support businesses, with every local authority given a share to support local traders through their own targeted discretionary relief scheme.

Councillor Nick Oliver, the Cabinet member for Corporate Resources, said: “We are committed to creating a more prosperous county and this funding will help support businesses across Northumberland.

“The relief scheme will primarily support small and medium sized businesses and those that are facing the steepest increases in their business rates bills as a result of this year’s revaluation.

“The funding will essentially soften the blow for many business rate payers and relief will also be applied to empty properties as an incentive to new businesses to take on empty properties.”

As a statutory requirement, the North East Combined Authority and Northumbria Police will be consulted before the scheme is adopted.