10 June 2020 County Council News

Small Business Grant - Last Few Days

There are only a few days left for certain small businesses to be able to apply for a Covid-19 Discretionary Grant in the county, with applications due to close this Sunday (14 June).

Northumberland County Council opened applications last week for this new fund from Government, which is aimed at some of the small businesses which have not been eligible for previous funding schemes.

If you have a business in one of the following categories you could be eligible:

  • Serviced B&Bs with 3 bed spaces and above and which pay Council Tax instead of business rates (not self-catering properties or Airbnb);
  • Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, which do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Small charities in receipt of charitable rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief;
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment; and
  • Hotels and pubs with a rateable value which is more than £51,000.

You must also be a small or micro business, have relatively high ongoing, fixed property-related costs, and be able to demonstrate that you have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Full guidance and frequently asked questions about the grant are available on the council’s website at

In order to ensure that applications can be considered and processed quickly the grants team is asking applicants to make sure that they complete the required details as fully as possible, and double check the payment information that they provide. 

Applications for the Covid-19 Discretionary Grants Fund opened on 1 June, and will close at midnight on Sunday 14 June. 

  • © 2020 Blyth Town Council

    08 June 2020 Council News

    BEWARE - Coronavirus Scams

    Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection service  is warning people to remain extra vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19.

    Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends. 

    Trading Standards are receiving an increasing number of calls and complaints as criminals develop more and more new scams to separate residents from their money and the public are being advised to find out more about these scams so they can keep one step ahead of the crooks. 

    Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Resilience said:
    “ So many neighbourhoods and communities are pulling  together to support each other during this crisis so it is very concerning to hear that heartless criminals are exploiting members of the public – including some of our most vulnerable citizens.

    “ Everyone needs to be vigilant and keep one step ahead of these criminals. Over recent months there has been an increase in frequency and sophistication of the scams which can be very convincing indeed.  I urge everyone to be on their guard, especially for new COVID-19 scams and to look out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may become a target for fraudsters.

    “ Don’t assume everyone is genuine and don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Only criminals will try and rush or panic you into making a decision.

    “ Never ever provide bank details by email or over the phone unless you are absolutely certain who you are giving them to and never click on a link from an unknown email source as this can give the crooks access to your computer and personal details.”

    Doorstep scams

    • Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return.
    • Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

    Online scams

    • Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments, which put people at risk of identity theft with personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.
    • Phishing emails advertising facemasks with malicious links are on the increase.
    • Investment Scams offering high rates of interest exclusively to you. Beware of unexpected telephone calls and always check the company you are dealing with is on the FCA register.
    • Pet Scammers have been advertising  puppies or kittens online that don’t exist. They persuade the victim to make the payment but use COVID-19 as a reason they can’t visit to view the pet.
    • Fake online resources – such as false Coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing program which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data. A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.

    Refund scams

    • Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.
    • An email offering a tax refund from HMRC. The link takes the recipient to a fake but convincing HMRC website where they are asked to enter their bank details to claim their tax refund.

    Counterfeit goods

    • Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. There are reports of some potentially harmful hand sanitiser containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde), which was banned for human use in 2014.

    Telephone scams

    • As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.

    Donation scams

    • There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.

    Loan sharks

    • Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence.

    Contact information - If you think you have been scammed

    1. Contact your bank first.
    2. Report it to Action fraud on 0300 123 2040
    3. If you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133

    If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999

    To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit and complete the free online training.

    For advice about how to stay secure online during Coronavirus, visit the website:

  • © 2020 Blyth Town Council

    05 June 2020 Council News

    Beach Clean Up - Social Distance Style

    While Blyth Community Volunteers aren’t allowed to do group litter picks at the moment, local resident Kathryn Moore got a group of friends together and joined forces with the North East Beach Clean group.

    While socially distancing, they tidied up the beach on a blustery cold day this week. She got in touch and asked to borrow some litter picking equipment, which we were pleased to lend her.

    Kathryn said: “We were soaked and frozen to the bone but never mind, lots of rubbish removed. Thanks for the loan of the kit!”

    “We’re really looking forward to getting back to group litter picking. We hope Kathryn and her friends will join us when we’re up and running again and we can run a joint litter pick with North East Beach Clean” 

    Blyth Community Volunteers

  • © 2020 Blyth Town Council

    03 June 2020 County Council News

    Town Centre Set For Multi-Million Transformation

    Major plans to kick start Blyth town centre’s renewal have moved a step closer as the County Council has been asked to support a near £40 million investment programme prior to a bid to the national Future High Streets Fund (FSHF) this summer.

    A report going to the Council’s Cabinet states that subject to a successful FHSF application, the town centre development programme could be delivered from next year.

    It will be made up of a combination of funding from the FHSF, the County Council and funding from commercial partners.

    The council already has £7 million earmarked for the regeneration of the town centre over the next three years and the Cabinet is being asked to more than double this amount to kick start the renewal of the town.

    If the FSHF bid is successful, the funding will support a programme which delivers a revitalised Blyth Marketplace and Bridge Street with new culture and leisure facilities in the heart of the town centre.  

    The town’s established reputation as a centre for the Energy and offshore wind industry will be bolstered by the development of a new research and education Energy Institute.  

    The programme also includes projects which focus on improving green space, cycling and walking improvements to better connect the town centre to the quayside and support an increase in physical activity whilst also ensuring the town is safe and welcoming to all users.

    Blyth is currently one of 50 towns shortlisted to benefit from the Government’s £1 billion Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).  Subject to cabinet approval a final submission to the fund will be made in July 2020. 

    The County Council has been working as part of the Blyth Town Forum over the last year with public, private and community sector partners working together to back the ‘Energising Blyth’ vision.

    Full article can be viewed on Northumberland County Council’s website here:

  • © 2020 Blyth Town Council

    03 June 2020 Council News

    Bowes Street and High Street Projects Delayed

    Due to the current coronavirus situation and other issues, both projects to refurbish Bowes Street and High Street have been delayed significantly. All of the planters were purchased and plants were grown to order, therefore they will be temporarily placed around the town until they can be placed in their final locations on Bowes Street and High Street when the projects are completed.

    We will update you as the situation evolves and look forward to the projects being completed when it is safe to do so.

© 2020 Blyth Town Council

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