Kirklees Council “save” 80 jobs with business rates reduction scheme
Dec 8 2009 by Henryk Zientek, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
A SCHEME to grant business rate relief to struggling firms is estimated to have saved 87 jobs in Kirklees.
The scheme was launched by Kirklees Council in September to help hard-pressed manufacturers – a sector employing about 20% of the district’s workforce.
Six local companies were awarded a reduction in their rates bill for one year – amounting to saving of more than £284,000.
The council said this “investment” had safeguarded 87 jobs which were previously at risk.
The figure came after a survey of the firms and the jobs in potential danger.
Council leader Mehboob Khan said: “Over these past few weeks and months I’ve been going out and about meeting local firms and getting a sense of the impact the recession is having on their business.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to offer the rate relief and help local firms which are struggling during the recession. The number of jobs safeguarded is a fantastic achievement and one that I want us to build on with other business initiatives.”
Andrew Choi, director of the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The rate relief initiative has thrown a lifeline to the local manufacturing base which has been hardest hit by the recession.
“The investment made by Kirklees will go a long way in easing the pressure on these businesses and the chamber hopes there are more initiatives like this to come.”
The rate relief scheme was one of the initiatives under the council’s Real Help Now package to support local firms and residents.
To be eligible for rate relief, businesses had to be manufacturers based in Kirklees and trading in the district for more than five years; be able to provide details of their financial status and be able to confirm that they had not received more than the allowable limit of public-funded support to comply with State Aid regulations.
Other measures under the Real Help Now package include a pledge by the council to pay its bills promptly and Meet the Buyer events to help local firms tender for council contracts.
Support is also available through the Huddersfield Loan Fund; the Green Business Network which provides environmental advice to firms; provision of managed workspace; help to find premises and develop sites and support for businesses wishing to invest in the district.
Applications for this round of rate relief have closed, but there are other opportunities for businesses in Kirklees to apply to defer some of their bills.
Information is available at www.kirklees.gov.uk/businessrates