Big cuts to transport investment in York

The York Council is planning to reduce the amount that it spends during the current financial year on two landmark transport projects

The budget for the dualling of the outer ring road (A1237) will be reduced from £21.3 million to just £3.5 million. Officials say that construction work is unlikely to start before mid 2023.

The ambitious railway station frontage remodelling project faces an £8.2 million cut. Only £5.2 million will now be invested in 2021/22.  A start on site is not now expected before early 2022.

The total transport budget is being reduced from £44.2 million to £22.1 million.

Coronavirus York updates; 18th June 2021

Hospital patients and deaths

Test results

Thirty nine positive test results announced today. Brings cumulative total to 12,755.

Case numbers have increased from 144 to 157.

Rate /100k population rises to 74.07. Trending to reach over 90.

No sign in York yet of the infection rate stabilising as forecast by some national commentators

Infection levels in the City remain below national and regional levels (but only just)


We are now seeing high infection growth rate figures in some neighbourhoods, many of which also have high numbers of residents aged under 30


Vaccinations are now available for those aged 18 and over

1660 vaccinations were completed yesterday (Thursday)


  • 5136 PCR tests were completed during the week ending 13th June 2021.
  • Of these, 2.6% were positive. That is an increase on the 2.4% found during the previous period
  • 2950 “lateral flow” tests were also completed on 17th June 2021

Council commentary

The York Councils weekly “open data” commentary has been updated. It is reproduced here

The data is accurate as at 8.00 a.m. on Friday 18.06.21. Some narrative for the data covering the latest period is provided here below:

People with Covid Symptoms

• NHS Pathways/111 triages – as at 15.6.21 there had been 93 total covid triages in the CYC area in the last 7 days. The peak number of triages was 653 in the 7 day period to 20.9.20.

• As at 17.6.21, the Covid Symptom App estimates 582 per 100,000 in York with symptomatic covid (responses from a sample of 3,799 people). The peak rate was 1,283 on 7.1.21.

Diagnosed cases

• As at 17.6.21 York has had 12,716 cases since the start of the pandemic, a rate of 6,038 per 100,000 of population. The cumulative rate in York is below the national (7,126) and regional (7,496) averages.

• The PHE ‘Exceedance’ rating compares the no. of new cases over a 14 day period with the previous 6 weeks and provides a RAG rating to indicate if the previously observed trend in the number of new cases is worsening. The latest rating for York (14.6.21) is Red.

• The provisional rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 9.6.21 to 15.6.21 in York is 82.6 (174 cases). (Using data published on on 17.6.21).

• The latest official “validated” rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 6.6.21 to 12.6.21 in York was 68.4 (144 cases). The national and regional averages at this date were 75.2 and 81.8 respectively (using data published on on 17.6.21).

• York is currently ranked 84th out of 149 Upper Tier Local Authorities (UTLAs) in England with a rank of 1 indicating the lowest 7 day rate.

• For the 7 day period 12.6.21, the number of cases in each ward varied from 1 to 24 and rates varied from 12 to 158.2 per 100,000.

• The rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 6.6.21 to 12.6.21 for people aged 60+ in York was 10.1 (5 cases). The national and regional averages were 14.3 and 14.6 respectively.

• As at 16.6.21, the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 PCR tests only) was 5.6%. The national and regional averages are 4.4% and 5.4% respectively.

• As at 16.6.21 the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 Lateral Flow Tests only) was 0.43%. The national and regional averages are 0.4% and 0.5% respectively.

• As at 16.6.21 the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 1 tests only) was 0.5%. The national average is 0.5%.

• As at 11.6.21 York University reported 6 individuals within the University community who were currently self-isolating because they have had a positive COVID-19 test. The peak number was 331 on the 19.10.20.

• As at 14.6.21 York St. John reported 2 individuals within the University community who were currently self-isolating because they have had a positive COVID-19 test. The peak number was 82 on the 8.10.20.

Contact Tracing

• Local Contact Tracing. Between 10.3.21 and 11.6.21, 346 referrals had been actioned by the local contact tracing service. Of the referrals actioned, 328 (94.8%) were successful and 18 (5.2%) were unable to be reached via phone or home visit, but guidance leaflets were posted where possible. (NB on the 10.3.21 the local CYC team became responsible for contacting all cases rather than just those that the national team could not contact).

Cases in Residential Care Settings

• As at 16.6.21 there was 1 care home in the CYC area with confirmed Covid-19 infection (at least 1 case of either a staff member or resident).

• The latest ‘outbreak’ (2+ cases) in a residential care setting in York were reported by PHE on 25.2.21 (1 home).

Cases amongst School Aged Children

• In the 7 days up to 14.6.21 there were 18 children of primary or secondary school age who tested positive (across 12 different schools).

COVID Bed Occupancy in York Hospital

• As at 15.6.21 there were 4 confirmed Covid-19 patients in General/Acute beds. The previous figure was 2 on 8.6.21. The peak number was 157 on 19.1.21.

• As at 15.6.21 there were 0 confirmed Covid-19 patients and 0 suspected Covid-19 patients in the Intensive Treatment Unit. The previous figures were 0 and 0 on 8.6.21. The peak number for people in ITU was 19 on 10.5.20.

R Number

• The ‘R’ value (the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to, on average) for the North East and Yorkshire area on 11.6.21 was estimated to be in the range 1.0 to 1.2. The previous estimate was (0.9 to 1.1) on 4.6.21.

Variants of Concern

• Published data from Public Health England shows that in York, up to 9.6.21, there had been 51 cases (genomically confirmed or provisional genotyping) of the Delta Variant of Concern (VOC-21APR-02) which was first identified in India. More recent provisional data is available on cases where the test was processed in a laboratory which can identify Variants of Concern. This shows that in the most recent month, 82% of new cases in York were likely to be the Delta Variant.

Total Vaccinations

• As at 16.6.21 a total of 128,338 CYC residents have had the first dose of the vaccine. This represents 73.8% of the estimated adult (18+) population of York.

• As at 16.6.21 a total of 90,128 CYC residents have had both doses of the vaccine. This represents 51.8% of the estimated adult (18+) population of York.


The two sources about deaths from Covid-19 at LA level are ONS data and local registrar data. They are derived from the same source (civil registration data). ONS data is more comprehensive as it includes deaths of York residents which have occurred and been registered outside York. Local registrar data provides a breakdown by age and gender. The most recently available data is summarised below:

• ONS Weekly data: In the most recent period (Week 22: 29.5.21 to 4.6.21) 1 Covid-19 death was recorded as having occurred for a CYC resident.

• ONS Cumulative data: Since the start of the pandemic, for deaths occurring up to 4th June 2021 and registered up to 12th June 2021, 397 Covid-19 deaths were recorded as having occurred for CYC residents (228 in hospital, 136 in care homes, 25 at home/elsewhere and 8 in a hospice). The number of deaths per 100,000 of population in York is 188.49 which is lower than the national average of 232.61

• Age / Gender breakdown (using registrar data): The average age of the CYC residents who died was 82.1, with an age range of 44-104. The age profile of the CYC residents who have died is older than the national average (79.6% were aged 75+ compared with 72.9% nationally). 47.7% of the CYC residents who died were male. The national average is 54.4%.

Children’s play improvements – postcode lottery in York

A promised £250,000 improvement programme for children’s playgrounds in York has turned into a lottery.

A behind closed doors meeting has allocated most of the budget to Parish Council s in the outer York area.

A promised review of facilities described by the Council last years as “based on an independent survey of City Council and Parish Council play areas to establish a needs based investment programme”, has been ditched. The Council blames COVID for their failure to carry out the assessment.  

  The Council has now allocated part of that budget (£150,000) to more rural locations.

The decision – and the way it was taken – is likely to irritate several organisations who are working in deprived areas, with large numbers of children.

These include the Westfield ward which failed to attract any funding.

Westfield has a large number of children many of whom are deprived according to the York Councils own figures

Earlier there had seemed to be support for a continuous improvement programme which would have seen at least one piece of play equipment at each playground modernised each year. As well as ensuring the continued safety of the equipment, the policy would have provided some much-needed variety for children using the facility.

Playgrounds in deprived areas may get a share of the £75,000 which is available for repairs to safety surfaces.

The decision comes in the wake of other controversial decisions which have hit the Westfield community in recent years.

A “multi user games area” in Kingsway West was demolished by the Council three years ago and a promised replacement has not materialised. Similarly, the playing field at Lowfields has been built on without an alternative being provided. Admission charges at the “Better” leisure centre on Cornlands Road are also now considered to be too expensive for many local people.

Officials have listed the Westfield Ward Councillors as favouring spending play cash in a neighbouring ward.

“Micro grants’ positive impact inspires support for city festivals” – York Council

Image result for saving small business gifs

With council-funded micro grants helping 1,114 small businesses to adapt through the pandemic, the council is proposing to invest £100k to support the safe return of business-led events and festivals.

An independent evaluation of the micro grants’ impact shows that, since their introduction in March 2020, 294 businesses were saved from closure and that 635 businesses were helped to diversify or adapt their products and services.

The micro grants totalled £1.14m and supported small, micro and one-person York businesses – including self-employed people – affected by COVID-19 restrictions but not eligible for the existing Government grants. Alongside the grants, they were also given a year’s membership of the Federation of Small Businesses (FBS).

This scheme has helped protect many local jobs and support businesses to become more resilient. The scheme also inspired the Government’s own programme of Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

The additional expected ARG funding is set to be partly used to safely reintroduce many of the city’s regular events and festivals. Events before and after Christmas, such as the Food and Drink Festival, Ice Trail, Jorvik Viking Festival and York Design Week usually rely on sponsorship and commercial support, much of which is depleted. To support the delivery of these local business-led events across the city, the Council’s Executive will discuss allocating £100k from the ARG funding later next week.

Of the small and micro businesses which received the council’s micro grant, 30% of them were interviewed to find out about the grants’ impact. Of those interviewed:

  • 35% used the grant to invest in equipment, technology or materials
  • 25% used it to digitalise the business
  • 17% used it for marketing
  • 294 business said they’d been at risk of closing but the grant had helped them avoid that
  • 57% respondents said the business provides the main household income
  • 10% mentioned the positive impact the grants had had on their wellbeing
  • 57% had adapted or diversified their business
  • 42% had put some or all of their business online.

Another Council survey starts

City of York Council is inviting residents, commuters through the city and those who work in York to get involved and share their views in the next of York’s Our Big Conversation series.

Our Big Conversation is a city-wide discussion, getting to grips with some of the biggest challenges facing York. Launching today, participants will be asked to share their views on three major strategic themes for the city – carbon reduction, future transport priorities and the economy.

The response from York residents will shape the city for generations to come. Residents’ views will inform the development of the Local Transport Plan, Economic Development Strategy and Carbon Reduction Plan, which will be published for consultation Winter 2021. Further engagement with businesses across the city will take place later in the year.

Take the new core strategies survey today at

This survey will gather insight on topics such as:

  • How bold do residents want the council’s next steps to be in addressing carbon reduction?
  • How can the council support residents to achieve their career aspirations?
  • How have travel needs changed in the wake of the past year’s pandemic?
  • How have resident’s habits changed in the past year and how can York’s infrastructure, such as digital connectivity, support this?

York considers becoming first Good Business Charter city

City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to approve plans for York to become the first ‘Good Business Charter’ city in the UK later this month (24 June).

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The proposals form part of the council’s wider work with the business community, supporting small and micro businesses, and promoting the authority’s unique approach to economic development – ‘the York way’.

The Good Business Charter is an initiative of the charity Good Business Foundation, and aims to encourage businesses to adopt a holistic approach to their social, environmental and economic impacts.

Organisations signing up to the Charter agree to ten key commitments:

  1. Real Living Wage
  2. Fairer Hours and Contracts
  3. Employee Well-being
  4. Employee representation
  5. Diversity and inclusion
  6. Environmental responsibility
  7. Pay fair tax
  8. Commitment to customers
  9. Ethical sourcing
  10. Fair payment to suppliers

All are approached from an ethical stand point, with the businesses signing up to the charter expected to meet some minimum standards (for example on paying the real living wage, committing to reducing environmental impact, not engaging in tax avoidance, signing up to the Prompt Payment Code).

Working with the Foundation, the council is proposing to make York the first Good Business Charter city. This would involve the council signing up to the Charter, together with local partners. The University of York and Aviva are already accredited members. The Federation of Small Businesses is promoting the Charter, as are TUC, CBI and other business networks.

By becoming a signatory on the Charter, it’s hoped that it will help York to promote responsible business practices and provide a practical framework which enables York to Build Back Better.

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

Supporting small and medium sized businesses has been a key focus of the council throughout the covid pandemic.

“As we continue to work together to support the city’s recovery, it’s important that we take the lead to continue to encourage businesses to adopt a holistic approach to their social, environmental and economic impacts.

“Working together, as the first Good Business Charter city, will help us to create a better, fairer and more sustainable future for the city.”

If proposals to sign the Charter are agreed, the council is proposing to include it as part of its emerging Economic Strategy and ten year plan, and there are opportunities to promote membership through the Business Leaders Group and the City Partnership Group.