York economy performing well but….

St Nicholas market popular this year

The start of “Business Week” in the City coincides with the publication of a progress report by “Make it York” (MIY). This is the QUANGO charged with developing the York economy and particularly the visitor sector and markets.

Reading the report, one might think that all was rosy in the garden.

There has been a steady stream of tourists visiting the City this year. They have partly been attracted by a series of festivals while other initiatives like the food court on the market have attracted favourable publicity.

The complementary York BID scheme has produced tangible improvements to the streetscape coupled with imaginative lighting schemes.

However, part of the success in attracting foreign visitors is down to the low value of the pound.

The MIY report is singularly short of figures.

One look around the City centre, at this the busiest shopping period of the year, reveals that key shop units are still empty several years after they become vacant. The pile of empty shipping containers on Parliament Street doesn’t help while the surface of the City’s most popular car park (Castle) is in an appalling condition. Advanced car parking space availability signs – and their “on line” counterparts – haven’t worked for over 4 years.

This all adds to a depressed feel in the “high street”.

The report – to be considered by a Council scrutiny committee on 28th November – considers progress against a limited number of targets. Some issues, like the shortage of labour and key skills, aren’t mentioned.

Nor is any attempt made to assess the impact that BREXIT will have on the City economy over the next five years or more.

We hope that Councillors, faced with a bland report, will ask questions which root out any complacency.

York Council meeting to debate EU referendum fall out

Three of the four motions up for debate at the York Council meeting on 21st July spring directly or indirectly form the result of the referendum.

Big City smallStrangest is one from an Independent Councillor who spectacularly mixes up cause and effect when asking the government to reduce housing targets because international (in the case meaning the EU) migration will fall in the future. 

The growth in housing numbers in York is mainly driven by economic expansion targets. Many would say that the numbers included in the Local Plan are over ambitious but would the Council have the courage to scale down its job creation forecasts?

We think not.

If 13,000 (net) new jobs are created over the next 20 years, then those who will fill them are already alive somewhere. Only a very small number – because of York’s low unemployment rate – already live in the City. That means that many more will be inward migrants either from elsewhere in this country or from overseas.

The real issue is not immigration – it is getting a balance in economic growth targets which preserves the character of the built and natural environment of the City.

Residents have an opportunity over the next few weeks to have their say on how that issue can be reconciled.

Elsewhere Labour Councillors are seeking action against racist intimidation, the Tories want more on bus information systems while the LibDem Councillors will be seeking to ensure that Yorkshire keeps its current level of government funding (at risk because of EU exit).

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to guarantee that York will still receive millions in EU funding and that the positive contribution EU citizens living in the city make is recognised.

The Lib Dems will move a motion at next week’s Full Council saying the Government should ensure that York and Yorkshire receives investment at least equal to that planned to be provided by EU programmes. Between now and 2020, the region will directly receive £661m from European programmes to support small businesses, help residents find work, and support farmers and rural communities.

The motion says that in future negotiations, the UK’s vital trading relationship with the EU should be protected and the Government should put in place a support package to help local businesses deal with the short-term economic shock and the transition to the UK’s new relationship with the EU. The Lib Dems are also calling for the rights of the 5,000 plus EU citizens currently working and living in the city to be protected. (more…)

EU latest – funding bid side steps referendum result irony!

The York Council has issued a statement urging “residents to speak up to help £1.29 million funding bid”

EU exit“Those who live, work or volunteer in certain areas of York are being asked for their opinions in a short survey, to help secure European Union funding to improve their local communities.

The ‘4CommunityGrowthYork’ project is embarking upon its second stage of a funding bid for £1.29 million and would like to hear views from those with connections to the Tang Hall, Bell Farm, Clifton, Navigation Road and Walmgate and Westfield areas of the city, together with neighbourhoods around Haxby Road Primary Academy and Children’s Centre.

City of York Council is working closely with a group of residents, community groups and businesses who have formed a local action group with the aim of maximising opportunities to stimulate the local economy.

As part of the bidding process, 4CommunityGrowthYork is now seeking views and opinions on a range of areas which can help rejuvenate communities, from support with learning new skills, finding work and childcare to setting up businesses and support for small business. It also asks respondents to rate the importance of suggested projects such as jobs, training and enterprise.

The 4CommunityGrowthYork project has already benefitted from an initial £22,000 from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which was match funded to £40k by the council. Its plans, including results from this consultation, will be developed into a formal Local Development Strategy to be submitted to the European Union by the end of August 2016. If successful, the funds will be match-funded through council, Government and Tang Hall Big Local funding to a total of £2.58 million.
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New figures reveal 1.2% increase in York population last year


Figures released this week
 by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that York’s population rose from 204,439 to 206,856 between mid 2014 and mid 2015.

This represented an increase of 2417 persons (1.2%)

Most of the increase was due to younger people, aged between 18 and 3, moving into the City. They accounted for 1431 of the total.  This is unsurprising given the expansion in higher education that there has been in the City in recent years.

More significant may be the make-up of any change.

High growth predictions for the City have so far been based on a widening gap between the number of births and deaths in the City. Although that trend continues, the gap between the two has narrowed (1993 births against 1848 deaths last year).

UK population changeAs the graph (left) shows this new trend towards lower birth rates is also reflected elsewhere in the UK. 

There were 637 (net) migrants arriving in York from other parts of the UK.  

The biggest growth component were migrants from other parts of the world (1,643 net). Many of these were students.

In some towns, including Harrogate and Scarborough, the population actually reduced last year  

It would be wrong to read too much into a single year’s figures. But, with the additional uncertainties about the country’s capacity for economic growth in the wake of the EU referendum result, the York Council might be wise to take a more cautious view about expansion than is currently displayed in its draft Local Plan.

The figures do however confirm that – with unemployment levels at an historic low in York – higher economic growth can only be achieved if many of the new jobs are taken up by migrate workers

Population growth in York

Vote Liberal Democrat in todays euro elections

 

LibDem Euro MP Edward McMillan Scott with Westfield residents last year

LibDem Euro MP Edward McMillan Scott with Westfield residents last year

Liberal Democrat supporters living in the Westfield Ward may phone York 701727 if they require a lift to the polls.

The polling stations are open between 7:00am and 10:00pm.

A message from Edward McMillan Scott

With the European Elections taking place today, a new piece of research predicts that the consequences of Britain leaving the EU would be even worse than first thought.

A brand new study by Centre of Economics and Business Research estimates that now 4.2 million jobs in the UK are directly linked to our membership of the EU.

This is up from the 3 million jobs predicted by previous studies. It’s clear that British jobs are becoming even more closely linked with our membership of the EU, and the market of 500 million customers that it provides.

The dangerous policies of UKIP and many Conservartives, to withdraw Britain from the EU, would put these jobs at risk.

Over 350,000 of these jobs are right here in Yorkshire & Humber. Indeed experts predict that the North of England would be worse hit than the South.You can read more about this here.

UKIPs policies would isolate Britain and jeopardise our economic recovery just as we are turning a corner.

By staying quiet on the issue Labour and the Conservatives are no better.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party brave enough to fight for Britain’s place in Europe, for sake of British jobs and British influence in the world.

On May 22nd you have a clear choice between the party that wants to be IN Europe, and the party that wants to be OUT. Make sure that you use your vote to protect the future of over 4 million British jobs.

Best wishes,

Edward McMillan-Scott

 

Lib Dem MEP on the doorstep in Westfield

Edward McMillan Scott with team in Westfield

Edward McMillan Scott with team in Westfield

Edward McMillan-Scott, Lib Dem Euro MP for York, has been on the doorstep talking to residents in Westfield ahead of elections on Thursday.

Edward reported that residents voiced a variety of opinions on local and national politics, including concerns about Labour run York Council. Overwhelmingly the biggest issue for the vast majority was the local economy and jobs.

The region’s MEP since 1984 and Britain’s only vice president of the European Parliament, Edward has been making the case that being in the EU secures jobs and brings investment into York. Nearly 125,000 jobs in the York area are dependent on EU membership and 78% of CBI members saying that they want to stay in the EU.

Speaking about his campaign, Edward McMillan-Scott MEP commented:

“This week’s news that jobless figures in York have returned to pre-recession levels shows that the recovery is gaining pace. However, we cannot put this recovery at risk by exiting our biggest market, Europe.

“At least one in ten jobs in the region depends on our membership of the EU’s Single Market. It is crucial to the recovery and our economic prosperity.

“The residents of York that I’ve spoken to are concerned about what will happen to these jobs and the investment we get from the EU if we let UKIP and the Conservatives put ideology ahead of the national interest.”

MEP delighted by record increase in apprentices

Yorkshire MEP Edward McMillan-Scott is ‘delighted’ with the increase in people in apprenticeships in York and North Yorkshire, he said during a recent visit to York College.

 

Megan Geyerhosz, Hannah Smith, Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Denise Morrison, Cllr Keith Aspden and Cllr Ann Reid at York College

Megan Geyerhosz, Hannah Smith, Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Denise Morrison, Cllr Keith Aspden and Cllr Ann Reid at York College

Edward visited York College following the announcement that almost 860,000 people were on apprenticeships in the UK in 2012/13. This means that more people than ever before are in apprenticeships and that the government has created over 1.5 million new apprentice places since 2010.

 

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Cllr Keith Aspden and Cllr Ann Reid visited York College, one of Yorkshire’s major apprentice providers, on Friday to learn more about their efforts to increase the number of people in York and North Yorkshire who are in apprenticeships.

 

During the visit they met with Denise Morrison, assistant principal for employer engagement at York College and Finance Assistants, Megan Geyerhosz (aged 20) and Hannah Smith (aged 18). Both Megan and Hannah studied an apprenticeship in Level 3 Business Administration and are about to embark on a course in Book Keeping and Accounts to help them in their roles in the Finance office.

 

Edward McMillan-Scott, Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and Humber and Vince-President of the European Parliament, commented: “I am delighted that over 25,000 apprenticeships have been created in York and North Yorkshire since 2010. Apprenticeships are a crucial part of the Liberal Democrat strategy to build a stronger economy. I congratulate York College for their efforts towards increasing the number of apprentices in our region. I hope that many more businesses in York and across North Yorkshire will be encouraged to employ apprentices as a result of the success that both employers and trainees locally are achieving.”

 
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