THE current Coronavirus pandemic is an "economic emergency" for West Yorkshire, as well as being a public health crisis.

Representatives from local councils will take part in a remote meeting next Thursday, where they will discuss the impact of Covid-19 on West Yorkshire.

A report to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which provides support to local businesses, oversees public transport and funds major infrastructure projects, will say the pandemic, and the national lockdown, will have a "lasting impact on individuals and the economy."

The Authority will discuss what is being done to support businesses, local economies and public transport.

Financial support to keep bus routes running for key workers

The report says: "The final impact of COVID-19 on the Leeds City Region will not be known for some time.

"Although the UK Government are expecting the impact of the virus to be temporary, it is already clear that it will be significant, and is likely to have a lasting impact for both individuals and the economy.

"This will necessitate a review of our strategies relating to industry, employment and skills, business support, innovation and inclusive growth, in order to position the region as strongly as possible for economic recovery."

"Acknowledging that first and foremost Covid-19 is a matter of health and public safety, it is also an economic emergency with very serious implications for businesses, individuals and their livelihoods."

Issues raised by local businesses include workforce issues, major investments being put on hold, uncertainty around Government support and major disruptions to international trade as countries close their borders.

The report adds: "Sectors and sub-sectors most affected to date in terms of business concerns reported are hospitality, retail and leisure, manufacturing (across all elements, but particularly automotive, aerospace and medical equipment), and also businesses involved in holding, and supplying to, events (of all sizes, UK and overseas) and those that have schools and colleges as primary customer markets.

"Construction and their supply chains are also impacted."

Members will be told of the numerous streams of support for local businesses, and the report adds: "Work is also being undertaken to consider at this early stage the potential work required to support the economic recovery of the region, including the possible requirements of businesses, and the role that the Combined Authority can play. More work on recovery planning is underway."

Members will also be told what is being done to support the local public transport network in light of the huge reduction in user numbers.

The report says: "As of 6 April, bus and rail services are carrying around 10 per cent of usual ridership.

"The sudden reduction in patronage and the closure of non-essential retail is having a significant impact on the finances of both the bus industry and the Combined Authority.

"Emergency grant support has been made available by the Department for Transport both direct to bus operators and to the Combined Authority."