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Executive set for update on York’s economy

Published Friday, 21 August 2020

The executive are set to receive an update on the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, outlining how job loss figure estimates are dropping whilst visitor numbers and footfall is increasing.

As we move towards the end of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, estimates of the likely scale of job losses have been recalculated.  The York and North Yorkshire LEP had previously forecast 17,500 job losses in York.  This has been adjusted down to 8,500 in the light of July’s revised Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts for GDP loss. 

Throughout the pandemic the council has worked to help the city’s economy, from delivering urgent financial support to businesses to extending York’s foot streets to enable more people to come into the city safely and support the local economy.

Executive member for Economy and Strategic planning, Cllr Andrew Waller, said:

“Our key priorities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic have been the health and wellbeing of everyone in York and the backing of the city’s economy. A considerable amount of work has gone into reopening the city centre, and support the return of customers for retail and hospitality, with footfall in the city centre now around 70% normal figures, which is well above the national average for high streets.

“Any job loss is a hit to a family, and so whilst the citywide estimates of job losses have been revised to lower figures, these are still significant, and we will still work hard, along with partners, to support the long term health of York’s economy, and help individuals affected.

“Implementation of the tourist marketing plan funded by the Council is underway, with initiatives such as the new ‘Only in York’ video.  None of this would have been possible without the support and commitment of our incredible independent businesses, and other retailers, who have pulled together to make sure the city remains a safe place, helping to maintain business in the city centre.

“Looking forward, the six month tourism marketing strategy developed together with Make it York is also key to our continuing efforts to support the city centre and wider York economy.

Whilst we continue to do all we can to support the city’s businesses, it’s clear that more financial help is urgently needed, especially with ‘discretionary’ grant funding having been oversubscribed. That is why we are calling on the Government to back York and our city’s businesses to seize the opportunities in that would enable us to lead the recovery in our region and across the North of England.”

The Bank of England have subsequently forecast an even smaller overall impact on GDP, but are also predicting a slower recovery across 2021, assuming that the pandemic does not re-emerge. 

Claimant counts show an increase of 3,500 in out-of-work benefits recipients in York between February and June 2020, with further job losses expected following the end of the furlough scheme.

Executive takes place on Thursday 27 August and will be webcast live, or is available to watch again at:  www.york.gov.uk/Webcasts