While we're continuing to face significant financial challenges, we have stepped up our regional and national lobbying efforts to urge the Government to Back York by seizing the opportunities that are unique to York and making the city an exemplar of recovery.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, we've seen demand for services increase, whilst at the same time, income has considerably fallen. Early indications suggest that we're facing a £23 million shortfall in our budget.
See more information about our recovery, and how we are backing York:
- Backing York
- Backing York across the region
- Backing York in government
- A Government Hub for York
- Get involved and Back York
To kick-start the economic recovery of the region, there are opportunities unique to York, opportunities that other cities and towns would envy.
Recently, it was agreed that, with our partners, we would develop a 10-year City Plan to enable York and the region to 'build back better' by drawing on the city’s strengths; from utilising the biotech industry in the city, to seizing the once in a lifetime regeneration opportunity in York Central. It's clear that, with further funding, York can go far in driving the recovery of our city and region.
York has strengths and opportunities that could facilitate a strong economic recovery from COVID-19. The city has seen significant growth in key sectors over the last 20 years. Our businesses are identified in regional, and pan-northern economic strategies as being key opportunities for the Northern Powerhouse, and are all expected to remain buoyant through the pandemic, including a wide range of services sectors such as:
- bio-tech and life sciences
- rail engineering
- IT and digital
- financial and professional
Alongside this diverse business base, the city has a strong local education sector with high performing schools, a Russell Group research university, a regional teaching university, and 2 strong further education colleges.
York also has a highly qualified workforce, with 49.1% of the working-age population qualified at level 4 or above, a greater proportion than any other city in the North.
York’s leading-edge digital infrastructure, excellent transport connectivity, and desirable quality of place means that the city is well positioned to lead York and North Yorkshire’s economic recovery.
We've also worked successfully to secure significant Government funding and leverage in wider funding to support the development of major projects in the city.
Recently in the Chancellor’s March Budget, £77.1 million was allocated by the Treasury to progress the York Central project, which will deliver up to 2,500 homes and up to 112,000 square metres of space for office, leisure and retail uses. Funded through a combination of Government and LEP Grants and Enterprise Zone backed borrowing, the York Central development is an example of the role that York can play in driving regional economic growth, at a time when it's needed most, whilst helping to rebalance the national economy.
Backing York across the region
The Government has said any York and North Yorkshire devolution deal requires local government to simplify by removing the complex two-tier (County and District) structure in other parts of North Yorkshire.
We're the only unitary council in the area, and provide all the services within our boundaries, whilst for the rest of North Yorkshire service delivery is split between the County Council and the 5 district and 2 borough councils.
See more information about devolution and unitarisation in York.
As we are already a unitary authority, no change is required for York.
Backing York in government
To truly build back better, we're urging the Government to make York an exemplar of how to lead ‘recovery’ in the North of England and the funding needed to unlock York’s potential and build on the work already taking place in the city. With additional funding, we could:
- make £25 million available to further support local businesses in adapting to the crisis
- enhance York’s world-renowned culture and heritage by making extra funding available to support local museums, libraries and more
- scale up the support on offer to residents facing financial hardship, particularly through the use of the York Financial Assistance Scheme
- provide much needed funding for small charities and voluntary sector organisations who do not have the resources to fundraise themselves
- speed up the delivery of critical regeneration projects and citywide infrastructure schemes, from York Central, to the dualling of York Outer Ring Road
The campaign will support and link up with the work of other organisations and Councils who are lobbying for further funding for local authorities, including the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, IPPR North, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and more. As part of the campaign, we'll also be producing a submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, outlining the financial challenges for the Council, and highlighting the opportunities to invest in the city in partnership with the Government.
A Government Hub for York
Historically York has already been home to the seat of power in the 15th and 16th century with the Council of the North. Today York is an ambitious city, steeped in history and with many exciting prospects for the future. Worth £5.2 billion to the UK economy, York is a key driver of regional growth with 9,000 businesses and 110,000 people employed across the city.
The quality of the York Central site, located next to York station, is among the best in the North of England and is expected to attract high quality occupiers. A governmental presence on the site would provide additional impetus to the site that has the potential to be an enabler for growth as part of the government’s levelling up agenda.
The Government has confirmed that they are considering a Government Hub in York and, in alignment with that work, the city may be a potential location for the Houses of Parliament during the restoration work.
To support this work and as part of the Back York campaign, we've offered our support in developing these proposals and will continue to make the case to Government for this investment in the city.
Get involved and Back York
We want to hear from residents about their views about our size and boundaries, including where they would like decision-making to take place.
Read more about devolution and unitisation in Our City, September 2020 edition.
We Back York petition
Over 3,200 residents signed the We Back York petition that was presented to the House Of Commons on 15 April 2021.
Our Big Conversation
Tell us what you think via Our Big Conversation, both online or via a survey in the September issue of Our City magazine.
Ask the Leaders Facebook Live sessions
We're keen to answer your questions via our Ask the Leaders Facebook Live questions and answers sessions.
We’ve already held a devolution Facebook live session and there will be a further devolution themed Facebook Live, with partners, so watch this space for more information.
We'll feedback the views of York’s residents and businesses in any submission to the Government.