Council chiefs pledge support to Leeds's self-employed workers

Council chiefs in Leeds have reaffirmed their commitment to support the city's self-employed community through the coronavirus crisis.

By Joanna Wardill
Sunday, 29th March 2020, 5:00 pm

In a joint statement, Coun Judith Blake, leader of the council, and Tom Riordan, chief executive, sought to reassure those who are self-employed in Leeds that they are "not alone" and said the council is working hard to keep any financial impact to a "minimum".

Their statement follows the Government's announcement of a new income support scheme for the self-employed, in the form of a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of average earnings, up to £2,500 a month.

The scheme will be in action for at least three months, with payments beginning in June, and can be accessed by those who earn up to £50,000, as long as the majority of income is from self-employed work.

Leeds Civic Hall

Coun Blake and Mr Riordan's statement said: "We know that many self-employed people have been faced with delayed projects and cancelled work and have been incredibly worried about supporting themselves and their families as we navigate the coronavirus crisis.

"We want to reassure you that you are not alone. We are working hard to ensure the financial impact on the self-employed community is kept to a minimum. The skills that you bring to the city are wonderfully diverse and we know that Leeds would not be the same without you or your businesses."

To help the city's taxi and private hire drivers, the council has asked the Government for permission to delay the introduction of the planned Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ) until the end of the year at the earliest, while also continuing to pay CAZ grants to those who have switched to a compliant vehicle.

The council has pledged to continue to pay CAZ grants to those who have switched to a compliant vehicle and has also automatically extended all taxi and private hire operator licences which are due to expire before the end of June.

For more information on help available, visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/business or https://www.the-lep.com/business-support/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Anyone eligible for the self-employment income support scheme will be contacted by HMRC and invited to apply on www.gov.uk.

Any business rates inquiries should be sent to [email protected] and a national helpline has been set up for businesses and self-employed individuals on 0800 0159 559.

The statement also added: "If you need work straightaway, many supermarkets and care providers are in great need of additional staff to make an immediate start. For information about care vacancies email [email protected] Most major supermarkets are recruiting too, so visit their individual websites for information on how to apply."