Leeds City Council delivering extra funds to help businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions
Leeds City Council has announced details of additional funding support designed to help local businesses ride out the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.
The council has already distributed more than £215m worth of support to thousands of businesses in the city since the start of the pandemic. Now, with the success of the vaccine rollout programme meaning there is at long last light at the end of the tunnel for hard-pressed towns and cities across the country, further assistance is on its way to Leeds’s business community.
One grant scheme that reopened will help eligible businesses with property costs such as rent, commercial mortgage payments and service charges. The council has also confirmed the continuation of support grants for businesses that were forced to close following the imposition of the current national lockdown on January 5. These payments were initially available for the period up to February 15, but the release of extra funds means the scheme now covers January 5 to March 31.
In addition, the council will shortly be making an announcement about other forms of business support, with work under way to ensure any new or updated schemes meet the city’s changing needs in light of the Government’s roadmap for exiting lockdown.
Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been clear that we want to do everything we can to help businesses affected by the restrictions needed to control the spread of the virus.
“The progress made by the vaccine rollout programme might mean the end of the crisis is now hopefully in sight, but our approach remains unchanged – we are determined to be there for you.
“The city’s businesses have collectively shown great resilience and spirit while coping with the difficulties of the past year and we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder alongside them.”
Applications to the reopened property costs scheme should be submitted before 5pm on March 11. Successful applicants will receive a grant covering between 50 and 100 per cent of their total fixed property costs for the period from October 1 to March 31. To qualify, businesses must have fixed non-domestic property costs of at least £4,000 per year and must also be able to show that coronavirus restrictions have had an impact on their finances.
Businesses are not eligible for this support if they received a grant after applying during the scheme’s original window, which ran from November 25 to December 8. Some applications from November and December are still being processed by the council.
Meanwhile, the extension of the national lockdown scheme will see eligible businesses receiving between £2,096 and £4,714 for the period from February 16 to March 31, depending on the rateable value of their property.
Businesses that have already requested support for the January 5 to February 15 period do not need to make another application, with the council due to start sending out the additional payments from March 1. Previous applicants are asked to let the council know as soon as possible if there has been a relevant change in their circumstances – for example, if they have stopped trading or do not wish to receive further grants.
For more information about the various funds and links to the online application process, visit www.leeds.gov.uk