STRUGGLING businesses are being thrown a cash lifeline.

Hundreds of manufacturing firms were today offered a cut in their business rates – which could save them thousands of pounds.

Kirklees Council confirmed the plans as part of its ‘Real Help Now’ package to fight the recession.

The project will be funded by millions of pounds allocated by the Government to the council to help tackle the recession.

The rate relief plan is aimed specifically at manufacturing businesses showing longer-term competitiveness.

There are thought to be several hundred manufacturers employing about 20% of the workforce in the area and many have been hit hard.

The applications for Rate Relief will be assessed by a panel and, if successful, businesses will receive a reduction in their bill for a year.

The sum will be written off.

The sum has not been fixed but will depend on individual circumstances.

It could amount to thousands of pounds for some firms.

Council spokesman Charles Storr said: “In the current uncertain economic climate it is even more important for businesses to look at ways to reduce costs, maintain a healthy cash flow and take full advantage of new business opportunities that arise.”

Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Manufacturing is an important industry in Kirklees and I’m really pleased that the council is able to lessen the pressure by offering some rate relief.

“By benefiting from reduced rates and working more closely with the council and other support agencies, it is hoped that businesses will be able to minimise the impact felt by the recession.”

Steven Leigh, of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the scheme.

“It will be of genuine help to some companies who are finding it really tough.

“If they were to look at extending it we would urge them to look at newer businesses who are finding it hard to get established.”

Firms must be based within Kirklees and have been trading for more than five years.

They must be a manufacturer and be able to provide details of financial review information, including a Business Link Financial Health Check.

Firms have to submit bids for a rate cut by October 2.

Details are available on www.kirklees.gov.uk/business or by calling 01484 221414.