BRADFORD constituencies have seen some of the highest take up in business support grants during the Covid lockdown.

Shortly after the national lockdown was announced in March, the Government announced a number of measures to offer support to businesses that may otherwise collapse without any income.

Next Thursday members of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership will discuss the current state of business in the region, which includes Bradford.

Members will be given a presentation on the take up of the various different loans and grants available to businesses locally.

A report to the partnership shows that Bradford constituencies saw the highest proportion of businesses applying for grants or loans.

Bradford East saw 69 grants offered for every 100 businesses, more than double the 33 per 100 national figure and the highest proportion in the region.

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Bradford East had the highest take up of loans in the region, at 52 per 100 businesses, compared to 35 nationally.

Bradford West is second on both measures, with Bradford South third for loan take up. Halifax, Wakefield and Keighley have the third, fourth and fifth highest take up of grants per 100,000 businesses.

The Small Business Grant Fund provided businesses with up to £10,000, and was distributed through local Councils.

Leeds Central had the highest amount of such grants awarded - over £27 million. However it was followed by Bradford West, which includes large swathes of Bradford city centre, with just over £25 million. Overall £344m in small business grants were given out to 34,431 businesses in West Yorkshire.

As well as the Government grants, business were also able to apply for loans to help them through lockdown. Leeds Central saw the highest value of loans awarded - around £96 million in Bounce Back loans and around £50 million through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Bradford West was second, with just under £80 million in Bounce Back Loans and around £5 million in CBILS.

The report says: “Data on the take up of Covid-19 related grants and loans shows take up of support has been proportionally highest in Bradford constituencies, most notably Bradford East and West. This potentially indicates areas where the need for support has been greater, whether as a result of higher prevalence of sectors for which specific support is in place (such as retail and hospitality), or where businesses have been more likely to seek additional bank finance. However, it is also potentially influenced by other factors such as businesses’ awareness of the support on offer, the systems and contacts in place for them to access support, and businesses’ assessment of the attractiveness or appropriateness of the support.”