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Extended support package for Sunderland businesses

Further support for some Sunderland businesses hit by the pandemic is being provided through the latest round of Covid support released by the city council.

Taxi drivers are being awarded additional support to help them through a challenging trading period, with those who have previously received a grant through the Taxi Driver Support scheme set to receive an additional £500 each. The support reflects the impact of national and local restrictions on them, as well as their importance to vulnerable people in the city during the pandemic.

An Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funded ‘Restart Extension’ grant for a selection of businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure (HAL), non-essential retail and personal care sectors without a business rates assessment and those in the supply chain to HAL is also set to be released.

This will be targeted to support businesses in those areas that have been affected by restrictions but who did not meet the criteria of the Government’s Restart Grant. Payment levels are being finalised and the council’s website will be updated shortly, but these will be at a lower level than the national scheme due to the finite funding available.

The grant schemes - funded through ARG – are kept under regular review by the council to ensure that resources available are targeted effectively and that they respond to the impact that restrictions are having on different kinds of businesses. Payments will be automatically made to taxi drivers and businesses eligible for Restart Extension grants that have applied previously for support through ARG funded schemes.

Peter McIntyre, executive director of city development at Sunderland City Council, said: “Though there is cautious optimism as we begin to see lockdown measures ease, so many businesses have been hard-hit by the pandemic and the restrictions in place, and we’re ensuring that we target funding to support them. 

“We’re working hard to engage with businesses that need support – not only helping with funding, but also practical support and signposting to ensure that the city’s businesses come through this on the best possible footing. 

“We have already paid out around £6m to businesses impacted by Covid-19 from our discretionary ARG fund.  This additional support will see the council allocated the remainder of its ARG funding, meaning over £8m will have been provided through this fund.”

It is also expected that a Covid Recovery Fund will be launched soon, to support business growth projects that will lead to job creation in sectors negatively impacted by Covid. More details will be made available as the scheme is developed. 

This support is part of the overall business support to the city that has seen over £80m of grants administered by the council. Applications to existing grant schemes continue to be assessed, with payments still being processed to businesses that meet the different scheme criteria. 

Details of all available grant schemes can be found at Businesses and employers - financial support - Sunderland City Council