New £5m fund in pipeline to help flood-affected businesses

December's floods caused many millions of pounds' worth of damage ' not least in Tadcaster, where many businesses found themselves under water.
December's floods caused many millions of pounds' worth of damage ' not least in Tadcaster, where many businesses found themselves under water.
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Companies across the Leeds City Region – which includes Wetherby, Tadcaster and the entire Harrogate District – look set to benefit from a £5m fund endorsed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) recover from the effects of recent flooding.

The WYCA Investment Committee has thrown its support behind a plan to invest £5m from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal allocation to establish the Business Flood Recovery Fund.

An initial £1.4m will be made available, with the full £5m awaiting final approval by the WYCA Board at its meeting on February 4. The new fund will be managed by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The Business Flood Recovery Fund will make available grants of between £5,000 and £100,000 to support SMEs with critical capital investment requirements, such as new equipment or hire costs for machinery, and premises needed to restart operations.

The money could also go towards implementing internal flood resilience measures, such as building a mezzanine floor to move business-critical equipment to a higher point.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the LEP and deputy chair of the WYCA Investment Committee, said: “This funding is for those businesses that require the highest level of investment to get back towards operating at full capacity. The devastation of the flood is not going to be fixed overnight. However this funding will complement the initial rapid response support from our partner councils to address the longer-term issues and costs businesses face in returning to full operation and alleviate any further impact on business growth.”

The Business Flood Recovery Fund will operate under the same guidelines as the existing LEP grant funding scheme currently supporting SMEs to grow in Leeds City Region. To be eligible for funding, businesses must be an SME and from one of the LEP’s priority sectors: manufacturing, food and drink, low-carbon and environmental, financial and professional services, health and life sciences and digital and creative – although discretion will apply.

Further information about the support available to flood-affected businesses can be found at www.the-lep.com/floodsupport.