COMMUNITIES and businesses across Northumberland have benefited from £169m in government funding since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, helping to support some of the most vulnerable people, alongside the sectors that have been hardest hit.

In total, the Government has announced over £27bn for local communities since the start of March. This includes billions of pounds in grants for small businesses and business rates reliefs for industries, such as hospitality and leisure, that have not been able to operate during lockdown.

As part of this, local authorities across England have received an unprecedented level of additional support, sharing £3.2bn in direct grants of which £19 million has gone to Northumberland, and a further £600m to help prevent transmission in care settings.

This has meant local councils have had the resources they need to respond to any additional pressures created by coronavirus and been able to continue providing essential services, such as adult social care and children’s services.

Coun. Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: "The scale of the Government’s support for people in Northumberland is very welcome and without question above and beyond what many would have expected when this crisis begun.

"Not only have we had to make major adaptations to the way we do things, sometimes at great cost, we have also had to provide a number of support services to residents across the county that we wouldn’t usually have to. I am determined to ensure that residents and businesses in the county receive the same high quality service from their council as they did beforehand."

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick added: "We said at the start of the pandemic that we would make sure our councils and communities had the resources they need to respond to the coronavirus, and that’s exactly what we have done.

"In total, we have provided over £27 billion to help local communities weather this difficult period, providing additional financial support in the form of grants, business rates relief and direct support for councils on a scale that is unprecedented in living memory.

"Council workers across the country are working tirelessly to ensure this support gets to where it needs to be, helping local people and businesses to navigate this difficult period. They are the unsung heroes of this crisis and we are all incredibly grateful for the huge contribution they are making to their communities."