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Council urges Government to ‘Back York’ and enable the city to lead recovery in the region

Published Friday, 31 July 2020

With the Council continuing to face significant financial challenges, City of York Council has stepped up its regional and national lobbying efforts.

The lobbying will urge the Government to seize the opportunities that are unique to York and make the city an ‘exemplar’ of driving recovery.

Since the pandemic was declared, the Council has seen demand for services increase, whilst at the same time, income has considerably fallen.  Early indications suggest that the Council is facing a £23 million shortfall in its budget.  Over recent months, in addition to Government support, the Council has prioritised resources to support the most vulnerable in the city, as well as invested over £2 million to create local emergency funds to support the city’s businesses and residents facing financial hardship.

There are opportunities unique to York that if taken will help kick-start the economic recovery of the region. Recently it was agreed that the Council, with its partners, 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 is clear that, with further funding, York can go far in driving the recovery of our city and region.

That is why to truly build back better, City of York Council is 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, City of York Council could:

  • Make £25 million available to further support local businesses in adapting to the crisis;
  • Enhance York’s world-renowned culture, creativity and heritage by making extra funding available to support local museums, libraries, arts 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, City of York Council will 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.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, commented:

“Local authorities up and down the country are facing significant financial challenges and here in York, we are no different.  Following the Government’s promise to Council’s to give us everything we need to respond to the pandemic, I have since written to the Secretary of State to highlight that early estimates suggest that the Council is facing a £23 million shortfall.” 

“Over recent months, we have allocated considerable resources to support the most vulnerable and provide local emergency support funding to our local residents and businesses, in order to support those who fell through the cracks of Government schemes.  However, due to the nature of the Council’s financial challenges, we are limited in our ability to continue this support on our own.”

“It is clear from our response to Coronavirus, that there are opportunities unique to York that many other cities would envy, from our biotech and educational sector, to the once in a lifetime regeneration opportunity of York Central.  That is why we are calling on the Government to back York and seize the opportunities in the city that would enable us to lead the recovery in our region and across the North of England.”

“To lead these calls, the Council will be working with its partners, in local government, business and public health, to step up our lobbying programme and the case for York regionally and nationally.”

To find about more about the campaign, please visit the Back York page on the Council’s website www.york.gov.uk/BackYork.  To share your thoughts and views on the campaign and what representations the Council should be making to Government, please get involved in the Big Conversation via www.york.gov.uk/OurBigConversation.