Businesses in Leeds are being encouraged to apply for fresh funding support to help them deal with the continuing financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leeds City Council has already distributed more than £290m worth of assistance to the business and charity sector since the start of the pandemic.
Now two grant schemes are set to deliver additional help as the local business community weighs up the impact of recently-imposed restrictions designed to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
One of the schemes being managed by the council is aimed at Leeds-based businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sector, with one-off grants on offer worth up to £6,000.
Applicants must provide in-person services at their premises and have been registered as the current ratepayer on December 30 last year.
The application window for this fund is open now and will close on Monday, February 28.
The second scheme is aimed at Leeds-based businesses and charities from any sector, with discretionary grants ranging from £1,000 to £15,000 on offer to help cover fixed overheads such as service charges and commercial vehicle leasing costs.
This scheme is open now and has an application deadline of Monday, January 31.
To qualify for support, applicants must fulfil a number of criteria, one of which requires them to demonstrate a drop from their pre-pandemic income of at least 25 per cent or £50,000 between April 1 and December 31 last year when compared to the same period in 2019.
The scheme is not open to businesses that have already received a discretionary grant towards their fixed overheads for the period from August 1 last year to March 31 this year.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “We are very much aware of the continuing pressures being placed on businesses in Leeds as a result of COVID-19 and remain determined – as we have been since the start of the crisis – to do everything we can to help them.
“Our business community has – like people across the city – shown truly remarkable resolve as it has coped with the unprecedented challenges that have come its way over the last two years.
“The spread of the Omicron variant has now presented many Leeds businesses with yet another challenge. Our message today, therefore, is simple: if you think you could benefit from one of these schemes, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
Other measures taken by the council during the pandemic include the distribution of grants to businesses that were forced to close during the various national lockdowns and payments to help with reopening costs as restrictions began to ease.
Eligible taxi and private hire drivers, meanwhile, can still claim free three-year licence renewals as part of a multi-million pound package of assistance for their trade that was announced in March last year.
For further information about the council’s COVID-19 business support programme, visit https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/grants-for-businesses.