Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, has written to the Chancellor urging the Government to commit to providing urgent support for businesses excluded from government support schemes.
Throughout the last few months, York Liberal Democrats have ensured that the Council has acted swiftly to support businesses and residents in this difficult time. On top of distributing around £110 million worth of support to businesses via grants and reliefs in record time, we have further invested £1 million to deliver the Council’s own local emergency fund for hundreds of small and micro businesses, who did not meet the criteria for the Government support scheme.
However, with limited funds available to the Council from Government, guidance was followed rigidly and therefore funding was only provided to businesses which have a rateable value or annual mortgage of below £51,000, in order to target support at as many businesses as possible. This has seen nearly 700 businesses receive support, and the full amount of available grant funding has now been exhausted. To date, this discretionary scheme has been oversubscribed by approx. £12k at closure, which clearly indicates the continuing demand across the current cohort of qualifying businesses in York.
As a part of a Liberal Democrat ongoing campaign to call for support to those excluded from government support schemes, Cllr Waller has written to the Chancellor to emphasise the urgency of receiving further Government funding to support businesses, who still face uncertainty and major financial difficulties.
Writing to the Chancellor, Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said:
“Hundreds of businesses are still in need of support. Particularly those with commercial properties and rateable value of over £51k. Amongst the over 980 local businesses with a rateable value above £51k, are many of York’s famous pubs, as well as companies which deliver children’s play and sports provisions, which have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and the sudden and considerable loss of income.
“As other local authorities have had a lower rate of applications, they have been able to re-advertise the discretionary funds. Some have done this with a raised bar for rateable value from £51k to higher levels, which within a local area disrupts the principles of a level playing field. We have followed Government guidance and sought for there to be a common approach across the region, to offer as much support to businesses as possible and ensure that the future of our local economy and vibrant business sector is protected.
“Therefore, we are urging the Government to release more funding to York to support businesses in the city, particularly as they continue to adapt to the changes in national guidance and participate in the gradual reopening of the economy.”