A joint statement to the self-employed community from leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake and chief executive of Leeds City Council Tom Riordan:
“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.
“Last night, the government announced a new self-employed income support scheme in the form of a taxable grant worth 80% of your average earnings over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. This scheme will be in action for at least three months and will be extended if needed. You can access it if you earn up to £50,000 and the majority of your income is from self-employed work.
“The government have published details about this scheme at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.
“They have announced that if you are eligible, HMRC will get in touch with you so there is no need to call them.
“As a council, we are working hard to further ease the financial difficulties for self-employed people where possible. We have automatically extended all taxi and private hire driver, vehicle and operator licences that are due to expire before the end of June. If we need to, we will extend this further.
“We have also asked the government for permission to delay the implementation of the Clean Air Charging Zone until further notice and we have suspended repayments for taxi and private hire owners who have received an interest-free loan. We are still accepting and continuing to pay grant payments for those vehicle owners switching to cleaner vehicles.
"Things are changing on a daily basis, and as the government develops its response to the pandemic, the following contacts for businesses and self-employed people in Leeds are in place:
· For more information regarding business support we are directing businesses to:
· Enquiries to Leeds City Council regarding business rates should be sent to Business.email@example.com
· A dedicated national helpline has also been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals - 0800 0159 559.
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Most major supermarkets are recruiting too, so visit their individual websites for information on how to apply.
Notes to editors:
· Leeds City Council has asked the government for permission to delay the introduction of the planned Clean Air Charging Zone until the end of the year at the earliest, to support vehicle owners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
· The council is still accepting and continuing to pay CAZ grant payments for Leeds-licensed taxi and private hire drivers who have switched to a compliant vehicle.
· The council has suspended repayments for taxi and private hire owners who have received an interest-free CAZ loan, from April 1 until further notice.
· The council is continuing to pay CAZ grant payments for operators of non-scheduled buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles who have switched to, or are still intending to switch to, a compliant vehicle before the zone goes live.
· If you are eligible for the self-employment income support scheme, HMRC will phone you and will invite you to apply on www.gov.uk. If someone texts, calls or email you claiming to be from HMRC and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, be aware that this is a scam.
For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds CIty Council press office
0113 378 6007