City of York Council announces £1m business emergency fund to protect local businesses and jobs

City of York Council today announced a £1m local emergency fund to support businesses in dealing with the impacts of Covid-19. 

The fund will target a range of support at around 1000 small and micro firms, who are not set to benefit from the recently announced Government support packages.

The council is working closely with partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support and targets those who are least likely to benefit from existing measures.

In addition to the creation of a business support fund, the Council is also taking a series of action to alleviate pressures on local businesses during this difficult period.

These include:

  • - All 350 council commercial rents deferred for three months.
  • - Supporting key suppliers, including :
    • o Paying those providing services to council and maintained schools, and bus providers for tendered routes and concessionary fares.
    • o Paying in advance where possible, and for planned annual activity.
    • o Exploring the potential for short-term loans
    • - All planned increase in fees and charges are suspended (unless set by the government)
    • - A license fee ‘holiday’ for businesses which can’t use them
    • - Suspending debt recovery efforts

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“These measures are designed to protect jobs and help local businesses who are having to adapt to extremely challenging circumstances and fall outside the remit of any government support.”

“The outbreak of Coronavirus is changing almost every aspect our daily lives, and we are adapting quickly and reprioritising our spending to support the most vulnerable and protect our economy.”

“In addition to the £1 million emergency fund for business, there will be a separate hardship fund of £1.25m to support residents, which we’ll announce details of soon. In the meantime, any resident facing financial difficulty should apply to our hardship scheme immediately.

“I would like to thank all those businesses in the city who have offered us support in our effort to slow the spread of this virus. It is truly appreciated and we will continue to do what we can as a Council to support you moving forward.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy, said:

“Our business community is resilient, creative and their response to this adversity represents the true spirit of York.

“We’re acting as their voice to central government, and hope in particular that more measures will be announced soon to protect the city’s 12000 self-employed people.

“We’re pulling out all the stops to deliver the existing government support as quickly as possible, including changing over 4000 business rates accounts and develop a totally new process to distribute up to £30m in grants at the start of April.

“We’re also working with the LEPS and other partners to connect businesses to all the available advice, guidance and support, so we’d urge any business to visit to see what is available to them.”

The council is engaging with business support services and partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support, with full details to be announced in the coming days. 

Any resident facing financial difficulty can see all the available support, and apply for the York Financial Assistance Scheme, at /COVIDFinancialHelp

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