Help on way for flood-affected businesses

Aerial picture of flooded Tadcaster, before its bridge collapsed on Tuesday. (PHOTO: Glen Minikin/Ross Parry Agency)

Aerial picture of flooded Tadcaster, before its bridge collapsed on Tuesday. (PHOTO: Glen Minikin/Ross Parry Agency)

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As businesses across the region count the cost of widespread – and, in many places, unprecentedly severe – flooding, it has been announced that financial help may be in the pipeline.

Councils including Harrogate Borough Council, along with the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership – which covers the whole Harrogate district, as well as Wetherby and Tadcaster – are discussing with the Government the setting up of a response fund to help affected businesses.

The exact details of the fund are currently being developed by the Government, but it is thought the support will be in the form of small grants to help firms with costs directly related to flood damage and to assist them to return to a level of business operation.

How narrowly this will be interpreted is also not yet known. Businesses that have been completely flooded, such as those close to the River Wharfe in Tadcaster, are likely to be covered by the scheme, but others that have suffered in less direct ways may not be.

For example, businesses that lose money due to the six-mile diversion round the collapsed Tadcaster bridge may find themselves beyond the scheme’s remit.

Similarly, in Masham, where the BT broadband connection has been inactive due to flood damage since Sunday, businesses that lose online sales may have to absorb any losses themselves.

The Local Enterprise Partnership is asking affected businesses to call 0113 348 1818 in advance of any Government announcement. Businesses can leave their details and will be called back as soon as details of the support are known. The line will be staffed until 4pm on Thursday, December 31 before re-opening at 9am on Monday, January 4, 2016.

Businesses can also visit the LEP website at www.the-lep.com to register their details.

Businesses or homes that are at risk of flooding can register with the Environment Agency’s Floodline Warnings Direct service.

Go to https://fwd.environment-agency.gov.uk/app/olr/register or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.