Councils call for urgent funding support as region is placed in Tier Two lockdown

The Leaders of West Yorkshire Councils have asked the Government for a package of support to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect jobs and businesses in line with the region’s ‘Tier Two’ (High Risk) status.

In terms of business support, the Leaders have asked for:

  • An enhanced Local Restrictions Support Grant providing grants of up to £5,000 every three weeks for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that have lost at least 25% of their income
  • The continuation of furlough with Government contributing to wages – a measure that could support 113,000 jobs
  • £3.7 million to support the expansion of the Covid Recovery Grants Scheme to support businesses to reopening and adapting

They have also asked for £30 million to support further local targeted measures to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 virus through local contact-tracing, community engagement, enforcement, support for those self-isolating and other measures.

Leaders also set out their commitment to retain £47 million in grants already issued, to implement local health and economic measures with immediate effect.

In a joint statement, the Leaders of West Yorkshire Councils said:

“Although we have avoided ‘Tier Three’ (Very High Risk) status at this moment, we are far from complacent. Efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic must be locally-led and properly funded so that we can carry out the local contact-tracing and deep community engagement that national approaches cannot deliver.

“This must be supported by a comprehensive package of measures that sustains businesses and protects jobs until restrictions can be lifted, so that the progress we have made in improving the standards of living for our communities is not lost.

“We need Government to urgently respond so that we can address the rising infection rates that are putting our NHS services under increasing pressure, and to avoid the additional damage to the West Yorkshire economy that would be caused by moving into “Very High” risk restrictions.”

The letter, addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretaries of State for Health and Housing, Communities and Local Government, also states that beyond Covid-19 the leaders “remain concerned about the pressures on local Government finances”. It highlights the need for additional Government support particularly as council’s look to “lead local places through concurrent events this Winter, including Brexit and weather related events”.