As lockdown eases, Huddersfield Town Centre can slowly begin to open up again. To aid Huddersfield’s economic recovery, Kirklees Council has made some changes that will affect Huddersfield town centre businesses.
Kirklees Council has committed to funding the levy charge for some Huddersfield town centre businesses. The council will cover the levy charge in the current financial year (2020/21) and the one to come (2021/22).
What is a levy charge?
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are business-led partnerships. Local businesses group together and work with local authorities to improve the local areas that surround their businesses.
Part of being part of a BIDs includes a levy charge. Those funds collected from businesses within the local area are used to improve the local area – Huddersfield Town Centre.
All business rate payers involved in the BIDs pay a levy charge. It acts as another type of bill that the business pay. The levy charge funds development projects within the local area, which circles around to benefit local businesses too.
Which local businesses will it help?
The council will pay the levy charge for independent businesses that have closed since November due to COVID-19 restrictions. If businesses identified for the funding support have already paid their BID levy, the council will refund them.
In addition, the council will use the Discretionary Grant Scheme to further support Kirklees’ local businesses as the pandemic continues.
“Focus on bouncing-back.”
David Shepherd, Strategic Director for Growth and Economy said: “It’s vital we continue to support local businesses in their effort to survive the pandemic. We owe it to them to direct all available funding where it is needed most.
“I’m delighted we can offer additional support for smaller, independent businesses, so they can focus on bouncing-back. These businesses help to create the diversity of our retail and hospitality offer in the town centre. This is crucial for attracting footfall back into the town centre once it’s safe to do so, and so start our economic recovery.
“The funding builds on the already extensive support the council offers to new and established businesses, through advice, funding, and other support that helps business resilience and growth.”
Matthew Chapman, Manager of Huddersfield BID added:
“The BID welcomes this support from the council that will enable us to plan for 2021/22 with certainty and deliver a full programme of activity. The BID’s work to create and promote a vibrant town centre, support local businesses and ensure the centre is safe and accessible for residents and visitors has never been more important. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the council to ensure Huddersfield Town Centre bounces back in the best possible way in 2021.”
What other support is there?
Kirklees Council’s decision is one among a number of attempts to support businesses in bouncing back after the pandemic.
The Chancellor will extend the ‘Expanded Retail Discount business rate relief scheme’. Under the scheme, any eligible businesses will receive a 100% business rates relief from 1 April to 30 June 2022, which will then drop to 66% relief until 31 March 2022.
In addition, the council is offering businesses a range of support from business development, plugging skills gaps and navigating EU rules to finding premises, growing your business and continuity planning, as well as advice on and access to funding and grants.