Total funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across Leeds City Region recover from the effects of recent flooding has been confirmed at £5m.
At their meeting today, West Yorkshire Combined Authority members approved £3.6m for the Business Flood Recovery Fund from the 2016/17 Leeds City Region Growth Deal allocation. This is in addition to the £1.4m recommended by the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee in January.
They also agreed to investigate ways the Fund can be used to support firms not directly hit by the flooding but suffering due to being part of the supply chain of companies that have been affected.
Managed by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Business Flood Recovery Fund is now open to businesses in the region, with grants of between £5,000 and £100,000 available.
Funding is aimed at supporting businesses with critical capital investment requirements. These could include the cost of new equipment, repair and refurbishment of existing equipment, repairs to existing premises or relocation to new premises in order for businesses to re-start or continue their operations. It could also go towards implementing structural measures such as building a mezzanine floor to ensure business-critical equipment can be moved to a higher point. Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will need to be accompanied by a detailed flood recovery plan and evidence of the business’ insurance cover.
Application forms and further information about the support available to flood affected businesses can be found at www.the-lep.com/floodsupport(external link) or by calling the LEP’s business growth helpline on 0113 348 1818.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair and Leader of Wakefield Council Peter Box said:
“Although my own district was not hit particularly hard by the December floods and subsequent storms, I know how devastating it has been for many small and medium businesses and the knock-on effect for those companies that are suppliers or customers of those flood-hit firms.
“I am glad the Combined Authority has been able to step in with this £5m but with the total long-term impact of the recent floods on the City Region economy estimated to be as high as £365m, this is only scratching the surface.
“We need long term solutions, which is why a commitment and funding for flood prevention measures are among our devolution asks from government.”
When the scheme was announced, Cllr David Green, chair of the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee and Leader of Bradford Council said over 2,000 Leeds City Region businesses were thought to be affected. He said large numbers of applications to the new Business Flood Recovery Fund were expected.
After the Investment Committee meeting, Roger Marsh OBE its deputy chair and chair of the LEP said the funding would complement the support rapidly put in place by councils and would be targeted at businesses requiring the highest level of investment to get back towards operating at full capacity. Now the funding is available, Mr Marsh is encouraging businesses to contact the LEP directly on 0113 348 1818 or by emailing email@example.com to find out about the package of support available from local partners and get an application form for the flood fund.
Support is being provided by the LEP’s growth managers, local authorities, Chambers of Commerce and the Manufacturing Advisory Service, to help eligible businesses develop the business flood recovery plans and ensure business continuity over the long term.