Saturday, 28 March 2020

Support for our businesses through Coronavirus

Northumberland County Council has launched a Business Hub, with a specialist team who are working hard to support businesses - small and large - through the Coronavirus pandemic.

You can visit the Business Hub website by clicking here.

Businesses can use the Hub to apply for the Small Business Grant Fund, as well as Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, which are administered through the County Council, as well as access a whole range of information and support. 

Small Business Grant Fund

If you are a small business (properties with a Rateable Value less than £15,000) in any sector who were in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief on 11 March 2020, you may be eligible for a £10,000 small business grant payment. 

Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant

For retail/hospitality/leisure business operating from premises with a Rateable Value of less than £15,000 (and not in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief) you may be eligible for a £10,000 grant. Retail/hospitality/leisure businesses operating from premises with a Rateable Value between £15,000 and £51,000 on 11 March 2020 may be eligible for a £25,000 grant.
The Hub also has information and guidance on additional support available, such as through HMRC's Time to Pay, as well as support for larger businesses, such as the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.

Friday, 27 March 2020

New measures announced to support the self-employed

The Chancellor has announced new measures to help self-employed people to cope with the financial impact of Coronavirus. 

The government will pay the self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open for at least three months, and extended if necessary.

The scheme is open to those who earn under £50,000 a year - around 3.8 million people - and self-employed people can continue to work as they receive this support. To minimise fraud, only those in self-employment, who have a tax return for 2019, can apply. However, anybody who missed the filing deadline in January will have four weeks from today to submit their tax return. You can find out more about eligibility by clicking here. 

HMRC are working urgently to get the scheme up and running, and the government says it expects people will be able to access it no later than the beginning of June. You don't need to do anything if you are eligible, HMRC will contact you with an online form, and pay the grant straight into your bank account. 

The self-employed can also access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, and Income tax payments that are due in July can be deferred until the end of January 2021.

This support is in addition to a whole package of support to help people who have been affected by Coronavius, which includes a three-month mortgage holiday for those in difficulty, evictions have been suspended, Statutory Sick Pay is available from day 1, and the government will cover up to 80% of the wages of retained workers. 

As your local MP, I am here to provide help and support in any way I can. Please get in touch if you have any issues or concerns. My office is physically closed, but my small staff team are working from home. Email correspondence sent to will be replied to in the usual way, post is being redirected and phone messages will be responded to. 

Two weeks ago, I launched by Coronavirus website - It is updated regularly with all the latest information for individuals, businesses and employers, from what to do if your MOT is due to expire, to advice Foreign Office advice, and support for businesses and jobs. You can click the links below to access each of the pages:

Changes to the TV Licence for over-75's

Important Contact Details

Downloadable Cards and Posters

As ever, if you can't find the answer you're looking for on my website, please get in touch - I am here to help in any way I can.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Hexham's new post office gets up and running!

I was very pleased to officially open Hexham’s new post office. The post office has now moved from the former Beales store to a new convenience store on Battle Hill, and I am delighted that this relocation has happened with minimal disruption to the service for the local community. The post office has been opened along with a micro-convenience store by retailer VPS and director of the group, Ash Singh, was at the opening where goody bags were presented to customers.  The new premises look fantastic, and I must give huge credit to the Post Office, councillors, Ash Singh and his team for all of their hard work in making the transition a success.