How £1m in Covid cash will help borough bounce back from pandemic

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Kirklees will use almost £1m in Covid cash to help it bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

The money, part of a £5m pot spread across West Yorkshire, will be targeted to helping kickstart the local economic recovery.

Kirklees’ share of the “immediate support” made available by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is £942,000. It is earmarked for “urgent cultural and economic initiatives”.

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Senior councillor and deputy leader of Kirklees Council, Peter McBride, said the money would help support the local economy and the council’s climate change ambitions.

Deputy leader of Kirklees Council, Peter McBrideDeputy leader of Kirklees Council, Peter McBride
Deputy leader of Kirklees Council, Peter McBride

WYCA, a group of leading councillors and officers from West Yorkshire councils, plus York, that works on major infrastructure projects, said that without action to support the region’s recovery, unemployment risks rising to 14% in 2021, with more than £15bn being wiped off the value of the region’s economy and the job market not recovering to pre-crisis levels until 2027.

Coun McBride added: “The WYCA funding is intended to be used to kickstart the delivery of our local economic recovery plan, which was presented in draft to Cabinet in July 2020.

“The plan covers how we will support local people and businesses as we come out of the current pandemic and into the future.

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“We will be looking to secure the funding to support a range of schemes including paid work placements for young adults, apprenticeship grants, business start-up initiatives, support for the local creative sector and innovation grants for SMEs.”

The money handed to Kirklees and other neighbouring authorities comes from the £38 million annual “gainshare” funding secured as part of the West Yorkshire devolution deal agreed a year ago.

The people of West Yorkshire will be asked to elect the region’s first mayor on May 6.

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