More than 4,000 Newcastle businesses have received vital cash grants totalling over £50m to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Launched just over five weeks ago, the council’s business support service has provided grants of £10,000 or £25,000 to businesses who receive small business rates relief or are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector.

Hundreds more are also set to benefit after the government announced more funds to help small businesses who were not eligible for the scheme with details expected to be confirmed in the next few days.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of the Council said: “We’re committed to supporting the city’s businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Our SMEs are a vital part of our local economy and providing them with fast access to grants has been a key priority for us.

“It’s testament to our hard-working staff that we’ve processed thousands of grants worth £50 million, and as a city, we’ve acted faster and gone further than many other local authorities to help keep our businesses in business.

“We welcome the fact that the government has listened to our concerns and widened the scope of funding so we can help more businesses get through this economic and health crisis, which is threatening the future of so many of our local traders.

“I have been pushing the Government for clarity on the additional funding to be made available for our small and medium size businesses. Unfortunately, the detail of this additional funding has yet to be made clear, but I can guarantee that as soon as we have this clarity, our teams will work tirelessly to get these much-needed funds to our small business owners.

“These are challenging and difficult times, but we are here to support local businesses and get through this unprecedented situation together and help create a strong economic foundation to build our cities recovery from.”

The announcement of an additional £617 million nationally to help support small businesses who fell outside the scope of the current grants where businesses receive small business rate relief of those in the retails, hospitality and leisure sector, we made on a call to council chiefs on May 1.

This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.

Government has committed to providing further information on the how the grants can be administered and the amount that each local authority will receive this week.

Once details of the scheme are confirmed, Newcastle City Council has a directory of businesses who fell out of the scope of the previous grants scheme and will contact them as soon as possible.

Businesses are urged to go to www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport to keep up to date with the latest business support information.

The dedicated business support webpage also has details of further government schemes and initiatives businesses may be able to access and what support is available.

The council is working closely with a range of partners, including NE1 and NGI. Together they will support businesses across the city, proactively reaching out to eligible companies,

signposting and gathering intelligence to help inform potential new packages where gaps are identified.

Advice for businesses is available at:  www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport