More cash for flood-hit businesses

Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015
Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015

Total funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to help small and medium sized enterprises across the county recover from the effects of flooding has been confirmed at £5m.

At its 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.

Peter Box, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair and leader of Wakefield Council, 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.”

Contact the LEP directly on 0113 348 1818 or email businessgrowth@the-lep.com to find out about the package of support available from local partners and get an application form for the flood fund.