BRADFORD Council’s Leader has called on the government to provide retrospective grant support for businesses that were unable to open due to the local lockdown.

Earlier this month an open letter was sent to Bradford Council by a group of owners of businesses including gyms and dance studios - which had to remain shut under stricter lockdown restrictions in Bradford over the Summer.

The letter said previous grant schemes to keep businesses afloat during lockdown had ended, and added: "we are now struggling to be able to keep our businesses afloat, with no clear focus as to a timescale involved."

Businesses have since been allowed to re-open - but have still been left with extra weeks of receiving little to no income.

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe has said businesses not able to open due to Covid-19 restrictions, such as gyms, should be sufficiently compensated with financial support from government to ensure their viability and to protect local jobs.

Relief for Bradford's gyms and leisure sector as re-opening allowed - but ban on gatherings remains

She added: “I’ve written to government to repeat my call for substantial support for businesses and jobs affected by the public health restrictions. I have made my view clear to government that all of the businesses who were unable to open due to the local lockdown should be given retrospective financial support.

“We welcome the government’s announcement last week of additional support for businesses affected by local restrictions, but what we need now is urgent clarity on which businesses are eligible for the grant payments. In particular, I am seeking urgent assurances that the businesses in our district such as gyms, indoor sports facilities, casinos, soft play centres and wedding venues which had to close in recent months will be able to apply for that support on a retrospective basis.

"These businesses did the right thing in having to close and it is only right that they can access the same support as any other business that faces the same situation in the future.”