THE Government has announced a £10m fund for small businesses in tourist destinations as part of a package to kickstart the industry.

Small businesses in tourist destinations across the North-East and North Yorkshire will be able to apply for support of up to £5,000 to help them adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

Middlesbrough MP Simon Clarke, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announced the fund today.

Speaking at the Local Government Association’s annual conference, Mr Clarke confirmed the new funding will be distributed to communities immediately to kick start tourism in time for the summer as part of the Government’s drive to boost the recovery of the economy.

He said: “When the Prime Minister announced the New Deal, he made it clear that the Government is determined to change the country for the better, uniting and  levelling up our regions.

“Kick-starting domestic tourism will be key to our economic recovery and that is why I am delighted to announce £10million in new funding for small businesses in tourist destinations, bringing jobs, investment, and financial support to the communities who need it the most.”

Businesses will be able to use the funding to pay for specialist professional advice such as HR, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems or to purchase new equipment.

All of the money will come from government, with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.

The Government also said it would “accelerate” delivery of more than £50m for shovel-ready infrastructure projects in the coming months to help the tourist industry.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Our tourism sector is hugely important - creating jobs, supporting businesses and driving local economies in villages, towns and cities across the country.

“It is vital that we help the sector bounce back and give it the platform to recover when it reopens from tomorrow.

“This fund will help many small businesses in tourism destinations and with the infrastructure investment brought forward will provide a further boost for jobs and growth."

Earlier this week the government announced plans to bring forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and economic recovery.