Help with Universal Credit for York residents offered by York Council


Ahead of Universal Credit rolling out for even more residents in York from 12 July, the council says it will support residents who need digital assistance and budgeting support with Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit, handled by the Department for Work and Pensions, which helps people on a low income or not in work, meet their living costs. It combines six benefits, including housing benefit and working tax credit, into a single monthly payment.

Currently Universal Credit is only available to single jobseekers in York but from 12th July parents and couples, including people who can’t work because of their health, living in the city and making a new claim will also receive it.

Universal Credit is one of the biggest ever changes to the benefit system and this may cause people to be worried about what will happen to their benefits. People who need assisted digital support or personal budget support should contact the council’s benefits service on 551556 or to visit”

There are several changes to previous benefits with Universal Credit, including:

  • ·        payments are made in arrears once at the end of the month, rather than being paid every week.
  • ·        payments will go straight into a claimant’s bank account. This means people may need to set up their own direct debits for expenses like rent if it was paid directly to their landlord under the old Housing Benefit system.

Residents who want to claim Universal Credit who are unable to use the internet or don’t understand how to make the claim can contact the council on 01904 551556 to ask for help through Assisted Digital Support (ADS).

People who would like to claim Universal Credit but are having trouble opening a bank account or managing their money can contact the council on 01904 552044 to ask for help through Personal Budgeting and Support (PBS). PBS can help with budgeting and advice on finding a bank account as Universal Credit cannot be paid into a Post Office card account.

The council has also teamed up with South Yorkshire Credit Union Ltd to give tailored advice which could include consolidating any repayments into a single, more manageable account at a lower, fixed interest rate, rather than resort to unregulated lenders or loan sharks.

Private or council tenants or mortgage holders are welcome to take advantage of the scheme which aims to help people budget and manage any debts.

For more information about the rollout of Universal Credit in York visit

No change in unemployment levels in York

The latest unemployment figures for York (9th March) show that there were 380 men and 247 women claiming job seekers allowance.. That is 26 fewer than at the same date a year earlier and represents 0.5% of the working population.

The Yorkshire average is 1.6% and for the UK is 1.3%.

The total number of benefit (Universal Credit) claimants was 1040. This represented 0.8% of the working population, and was an increase of 10 over the same period in the previous year.

The Yorkshire average was 2.3% and the UK 2.0%.

“Venturefest” set to be ditched by Make it York?

The Venturefest event, which as recently as last November attracted over 1000 participants to York Racecourse,  is set to be ditched by “Make it York”

The decision is revealed in papers submitted to the York Council by the quasi-independent “destination management” company “Make it York”.

In November local media said “Venturefest Yorkshire attracted nearly 1,000 people to York Racecourse for a “gathering of innovators, entrepreneurs and investors”, which featured more than 100 exhibitors, as well as keynote speakers, workshops, seminars, networking opportunities and investment competitions. The event was regionally based for the first time, and was run by Make It York, the city’s destination organisation”.

At the time, Steve Brown, managing director of Make It York, told people attending the launch of York Business Week that “a few weeks previously only 100 people had booked for Venturefest, but that had risen to more than 700 as bookings came in “very late and very fast”. That figure later reached a little under 1,000, to the delight of organisers”.

One exhibitor explained what being at Venturefest meant to him, he said: “As a region we need to shout more about the things we do. We have lots of companies in York and Yorkshire that are innovating constantly, then moving on to other things and not shouting about what they’ve done”.

No explanation has been given regarding the future of the 13 year old festival which was handed over to Science City York (SCY) to organise.

The report says, SCY took over the management of Venturefest with a brief to reinvigorate a 10 year old event. Over 800 delegates, 127 exhibitors, 60 speakers and more than £1 million of business generated on the day combined to make it a successful event”.

Make it York say that their decision not to participate will cost them around £129,000 in lost income.

The company has also revealed that income from the  Shambles market will fall by a further  8% this year.

Proof, if it were needed, that the £1 million refurbishment implemented a couple of years ago has yet to arrest the decline in market usage.

Job and training opportunities at the March York Jobs Fair

Looking for work? Want an apprenticeship? Need to change job? York’s next job fair on Thursday 23 March is the ideal chance for doing all that and more.

To be held at the York Railway Institute on Queens Street, from 10am-3pm, the event is funded by City of York Council and organised by York Learning in partnership with Job Centre Plus.

The free event brings employers, employment support agencies, education and training providers together to offer local people job opportunities, information and advice.

At last years fair over 800 people attended and there were 370 live jobs on offer. At this one, around 70 organisations and training providers are expected under one roof and will include:

  • Hiscox
  • Marks and Spencer
  • The Grand Hotel & Spa
  • Nestle
  • NHS York Teaching Hospital

The fair is aimed at those looking for employment, considering a change of job or career and those who would like to develop new skills and gain new qualifications.

All employers have current and future vacancies within their organisations. A selection of training providers will be offering apprenticeships and work based training. There will also be other support agencies offering careers advice and training opportunities.

Apprenticeship reforms – do you know what they mean for you and your business?

York Council asks, “Do you know how your business can benefit from new funding for taking on an apprentice and training your existing staff from April?”

As well as offering the chance for young people to meet with employers about real apprenticeship vacancies, the latest York Apprenticeship Recruitment Event is inviting local businesses to find out more about the upcoming apprenticeship reforms.

The event takes place on Thursday 2 March at West Offices, City of York Council.

At the event businesses will be able to meet an independent business adviser to talk about the changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for employers and how businesses can benefit from them. For example, if you are looking to recruit a 16-18 year old, there will be a £1000 grant available to businesses of any size. If you have less than 50 staff, the training is also fully funded by the Government. If your payroll exceeds £3m, however, you are about to become an apprenticeship levy payer, with different changes to be aware of. (more…)

Tourist visitor numbers to UK increasing

According to the ONS both the number of people visiting the Uk and UK residents visiting abroad increased during the last quarter of 2016

Overseas residents made 9.2 million visits to the UK in the 3 months to December 2016. This was 6% higher than the same 3 months in 2015.

The amount spent on these visits was unchanged at £5.3 billion.

Visits from North America increased by 15% in the 3 months to December 2016, when compared with the same 3 months in 2015. Visits from residents of EU countries increased by 8% over the same period and visits from residents of other countries (countries other than Europe and North America) decreased by 3%.

In the 3 months to December 2016, overseas residents made 11% more visits for holidays than in the same period in 2015, trips to visit friends and relatives increased by 15%, while business visits decreased by 1%.

UK residents made 14.6 million visits abroad in the 3 months to December 2016, an increase of 8% compared with the same period in 2015. There was a 16% increase in trips to visit friends and relatives, the number of holidays increased by 7%, but business visits decreased by 2%.

The amount spent on visits overseas increased by 15% to £9 billion.

Unemployment levels stable in York

Latest figures released by the ONS confirm that employment levels in York continue to be stable.

There were 945 claimants in January 0.7% of the population. Of these,  630 were men and 320 women.

The number of claimants dropped by 55 compared to January 2016.

The count includes 574 who are claiming job seekers allowance.

Nationally the UK has an employment rate of 73.7%. This compares to an EU average of 67.1%.

York job centre has around 5000 vacancies listed.

Another York apprenticeship recruitment event announced for 2nd March

 apprenticeshipsYoung people will be able to find out about over 100 apprenticeship vacancies across the city at the latest York apprenticeship recruitment event on 2 March 2017.

The event is coordinated by City of York Council’s York Apprenticeship Hub team.

The recruitment event, which takes place at West Offices between 4.00pm and 7.00pm, looks to highlight both the individual benefits of pursuing an apprenticeship job with training and the business benefits of hiring apprentices.

The event will provide an opportunity for young people aged 16-24 and their parents or carers, to meet with recruiting employers and to find out about alternative routes to Level 3 qualifications and university.

As well as the chance to speak to employers, training providers and current apprentices the event will also offer the opportunity for young people to book one-to-one advice sessions. The guidance sessions can advise people on CVs, job searching, interviews and the different options available to them.

With over 100 apprenticeship vacancies across the city, including accountancy, marketing, engineering and health, the event has lots to offer people who are considering their next step toward a career. Employers, such as Nestlé, Siemens, Portakabin, the Armed services, Marriott Hotel and many more, will be looking to fill vacancies and share information on their apprenticeship schemes. Training providers will also be available to discuss other York based apprenticeship vacancies and training opportunities.

Investment priorities changing in York City centRE

There have been several announcements about investment in the York City centre over the last few weeks.

Details of a new hotel in Hungate have been released while most of the troubled Stonebow building will become residential with commercial and leisure at street level.

In Piccadilly, the old NCP car park site may be turned into a hotel and flats.  Nearby, Ryedale House is set to become apartments.

The Council has rejected interest in building a hotel on the former Reynard’s garage site, controversially preferring a medium term retail option involving the use of  shipping containers! This has prompted renewed calls for a planning blueprint for the area to be agreed quickly, followed by comprehensive redevelopment work.

It’s not difficult to see why retail is being squeezed in the City centre.


There are a record number of empty shops in the City with (potential) shopper numbers declining. This can be contrasted with hotel bedroom charges (and occupancy levels) which are at record highs.

Very high sale prices on City center apartments are being achieved .

A two bedroomed flat in the Westgate development sold recently for £245,000. It had previously been sold in 2012 for £168,000 – a 45% increase.

A new 2 Bed flat conversion in Goodramgate is currently advertised for £315,000.

The drift into a hospitality led City centre economy – buoyed by high visitor numbers and more local residents – seems likely to gather pace.

We expect to see more commercial premises including shops being converted into homes.