Emergency flood fund to help stricken manufacturers

TALKS are under way to create an emergency fund for manufacturers stricken by flooding in Yorkshire.

Communities Secretary Greg Clarke with a Leeds business owner and council leader Judith Blake today
Communities Secretary Greg Clarke with a Leeds business owner and council leader Judith Blake today

Factories have been among the hardest hit businesses by the environmental catastrophe as water damage to plant and machinery halts operations.

In Leeds, the worst damage can be found in the industrial estates and factories along the Kirkstall Road, where tide lines show that water levels rose 3-4 ft above ground level.

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Tom Bridges, chief officer for economy and regeneration at Leeds City Council, said discussions are taking place to set up a fund for manufacturers.

He said they need financial support and help with existing or new premises. “What we are lobbying hard for is a response aimed at manufacturers. We need to support them,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “We are having discussions with Government, local councils and with our neighbouring local enterprise partnerships to put in place an emergency fund to help those businesses that have been affected by the recent flooding - many of which are manufacturers in Leeds, Calderdale, Selby, Harrogate and York – get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“We aim to have this fund up and running as soon as the necessary checks and balances have been completed.

“Information on how to apply for funding will be available from our business growth helpline (0113 348 1818) and through local councils.”

In 2007, the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward provided the Manufacturing Advisory Service with emergency funding to help companies hit by the Sheffield floods.

The service said it helped many businesses survive that would have otherwise failed after owners became overwhelmed and lost confidence.

Ironically, the service is being wound down as part of Government austerity measures.