NORTHUMBERLAND County Council is lobbying the Government to bring forward more measures to support businesses across the county during the Covid-19 crisis.

The council said it was working hard to get grant payments to businesses as quickly as possible, and had already paid out over £59.5m of the Government’s business grants funds to 5,310 companies.

But there were still some businesses which were not eligible under the conditions of the grant schemes, and the council said it was urging the Government to develop financial support to those that weren’t eligible for the current schemes.

Coun. Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “It is a very challenging time for our businesses and employers, and we want to assure them that we are doing everything that we possibly can to provide help, support and advice.

“That is why I have written to the Chancellor urging the Government to consider further packages of support to small businesses that are falling between the cracks, to provide vital support that they need.”

The council has set up a Covid-19 Business Hub with a specialist team providing signposting and advice for those struggling due to the circumstances.

But the hub was seeing an increasing number of businesses who were being overlooked in the available funding schemes.

The council said a particular concern was businesses in the county’s tourism sector.

Coun. Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts and tourism, said: “Tourism is the bedrock of Northumberland’s economy, contributing over £1 billion and attracting over 10 million visitors to the county last year, which given the current circumstances, will be greatly reduced this year.

“It is therefore vital we do everything we can to support these businesses which will help lead the economic recovery once current restrictions are eased.”