Figures show Yorkshire’s economy has shrunk by 20% between April and June 2020.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the region has taken a big financial hit due to the ongoing pandemic which has cost £8bn between April and June.
The hospitality industry was the worst-hit, with trade down 77%, while construction fell by more than 40%. The least impacted being the technology industry.
The report shows negative growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the UK from April to June, compared with earlier in the year.
The hit to Yorkshire and the Humber’s economy was significantly comparable to other regions. The West Midlands took the biggest fall at 21%. The smallest declines were in London and the North East.
The government has previously said it has put in support to help businesses survive the crisis such as loan programmes and the furlough scheme.
Leeds City Council has issued a variety of grants for businesses. However, many self-employed people have complained they are not eligible for grants.
Howard Barnett, a freelance photographer based in Leeds, did not qualify for any council grants.
He says “I’ve ended up with no support, it’s very misleading people are saying there are all kinds of support out there. There’s absolutely no support for me as a freelancer.”
Steph Chambers, the owner of Smiler Photos, says “I don’t qualify for anything being self-employed. I don’t come under any hospitality sector, I’m classed as non-retail and non-essential. The whole industry has suffered big time.”
Anthia Wyn Orchard, shop owner in Halifax, did receive a grant from her local council.
She says “Our heads are above water, I’m really proud of that. I’m not ashamed to say we’ve received grants.
I’ve had a lot of backlash at receiving a grant because I know people have struggled to get one. I’d urge people to do their research and see what’s out there.”
Leeds City Council recently announced they are reopening two grant schemes. Potential recipients include self-employed people, home-based businesses, businesses with commercial property costs of less than £4,000 per year, and smaller supply chain businesses.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “These schemes will play an important role in that effort by delivering support to businesses that, through no fault of their own, may have struggled to access other forms of funding during the pandemic.”
An initial window for applications to this scheme opened on February 4, and closes at midnight on Thursday, February 18.