WEST Yorkshire's council leaders are calling for urgent funding from the Government in the battle against Covid-19.

They have asked for a package of support to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect jobs and businesses in line with the region’s 'Tier Two' (High Risk) status.

The leaders – including Bradford Council's Susan Hinchcliffe – are seeking:

• An enhanced Local Restrictions Support Grant providing grants of up to £5,000 every three weeks for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that have lost at least 25 per cent of their income

• The continuation of furlough with the Government contributing to wages – a measure they say could support 113,000 jobs, and

• £3.7 million to support the expansion of the Covid Recovery Grants Scheme for businesses reopening and adapting

They have also asked for £30 million to support further local targeted measures to tackle the spread of the virus through local contact-tracing, community engagement, enforcement, support for those self-isolating and other measures.

And the leaders have set out their commitment to retain £47 million in grants already issued, to implement local health and economic measures with immediate effect.

In a joint statement, they said: “Although we have avoided ‘Tier Three’ (Very High Risk) status at this moment, we are far from complacent.

"Efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic must be locally-led and properly funded so that we can carry out the local contact-tracing and deep community engagement that national approaches cannot deliver.

“This must be supported by a comprehensive package of measures that sustains businesses and protects jobs until restrictions can be lifted, so that the progress we have made in improving the standards of living for our communities is not lost.

“We need Government to urgently respond so that we can address the rising infection rates that are putting our NHS services under increasing pressure, and to avoid the additional damage to the West Yorkshire economy that would be caused by moving into 'Very High' risk restrictions.”