Higher Broadband speeds for small businesses in York

A £1m scheme to support small businesses (SMEs) to get connected to high speed/high grade broadband with one of over two hundred registered suppliers has been launched today.
Broadband

Supporting York’s aim to become one of the best digitally connected cities in Europe, the scheme offers SMEs the chance to sign-up for a connection voucher worth up to £3,000, for a limited period of time, to gain access to faster broadband and completely transform the way they operate.The scheme is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as part of York’s status as one of 22 SuperConnected Cities.

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York jobseekers figures released

Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics have shown a 28.3% fall in the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in York, since February 2013.

Today’s statistics have shown an increase of 47 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance compared to last month’s figures meaning there are now 2230 claimants in the city, the lowest February figure since February 2008.

The claimant count represents 1.7% of the working population and stands less than half the regional average of 3.9%. The figures are also much lower than the national average, which stands at 3.0%. However.

Today’s figures also revealed a 45.5% decrease in the number of 18-24 year olds, claiming over one year. The statistics showed a decrease of 10 people claiming JSA from last month, meaning there are now 60 claiming, 50 less than one year ago.

The results also showed the number of claimants out of work for over one year has decreased by 20 from last month, totalling 500, this represents a 24.2% decrease of 160 from one year ago.

Youth unemployment was also shown to have decreased 35.7% since February 2013.

Vince Cable

Vince Cable MP

Figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that the level of unemployment has fallen again nationally.

Unemployment figures have fallen by 63,000 to 2.33 million in the three months to January 2014. The number of people in employment has risen to 30.19 million.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable said:

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Anger as York snubs Blackpool in favour of Cannes

York means business

Cannes pitch for York growth

It’s another jaunt to Cannes for those supporting York’s unrestricted growth.

The “MIPIM” started yesterday in Cannes. York is represented – with the Leeds City Region – on a stand in the Riviera Hall.

The MIPIM, the annual estate agents jamboree, has been targeted by the Councils “business team” with a glossy brochure which seems to assume that Labours plan, to increase the size of the City by 25%, will get the go ahead.

A booklet extols the virtues of several development sites (click here ) while the Councils own web site lists many locations  the development of which was assumed already to be fully funded (most have planning permission).

The initiative is therefore essentially cosmetic one.

The Council is keen to give the impression that it is influencing local prosperity. The reality is that, because of changes in the York economy over the last decade, it is the national financial recovery which will drive local investment.

The Council have been asked in the past to demonstrate measurable outcomes from events like these.

Apart from vague claims about new “leads” they have been unable to point to a single instance where a new investor has been found and has actually put money into York.

Hopefully opposition Councillors will quiz the Labour Leadership closely on this latest adventure.

Taxpayers have a right to know how much all this is costing?

City centre visitor numbers show small increase in February

increase-footfall-retail

Continuing mild weather, and a recovering economy, boosted visitor numbers in York City centre by 3% during February compared to the same month in 2013.

Although the increase is less than is being experienced in similar High Streets elsewhere in the country, no doubt tourism chiefs will point to the success of special events such as the Viking Festival as part of the explanation for the reversal in fortunes.

The modest increase is unlikely to be enough to deflect criticism from the unpopular Lendal bridge closure which continues to dog the reputation of York City centre.

Huge increases in car parking charges – which are scheduled to be introduced later in the spring when York residents will lose their “Minster badge” discounts – are another cause for apprehension.

The first Saturday in March saw 38,882 visitors recorded on the Parliament Street footfall cameras.

This compared to 50,054 on the equivalent Saturday last year.

The full footfall figures can be seen by clicking here.

York’s 2014 Apprenticeship Challenge launches with recruitment event for young people

City of York Council will launch the second Apprenticeship Challenge with a professional Apprenticeship recruitment event on Thursday 27 February from 5pm to 8pm.

The event, which will take place at West Offices, looks to provide information on Apprenticeships for young people as well as offering the chance to meet with fifteen employers offering over 40 Higher and Advanced Apprenticeship vacancies. Training providers, along with The National Careers Service and the National Apprenticeship Service, will also be on hand to answer any questions relating to  Apprenticeships .

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“Visionary” needed at York Council – no pay

Stonebow

Hot on the heels of yesterdays decision to appoint internally to a £70,000 a year “non-job”, the York Council is now trying to find someone who will work for free.

Applicants who are prepared to work for at least 2 or 3 days a week without pay to establish a new company aimed at promoting the City, only have until 7th January to do so.

Advertising any sort of opportunity over the festive period pretty much minimises the likely field so the suspicion will arise that someone’s name is already” in the frame”.

The Council says that it and partners including Visit York are looking to recruit a ‘visionary’ transitional chair to lead the creation of a new agency which will be responsible for marketing, tourism, cultural and business development for the city of York.

Reporting to CYC initially and working closely with partners including Visit York, Science City York and the two universities, as well as members of the private sector and the cultural community, the transitional chair will be an ambassador for the new agency. He or she will lead the creation of the new board and executive team and will also produce a five-year business strategy for the agency to deliver new branding, generate cultural activity, build the business and leisure visitor economy and support business development.

The post holder will be paid expenses. How the post fits into the Councils living wage policy is a mystery.

Details click here

Unemployment down again in York

Unemployment levels fell again last month across the country.

In York the number claiming job seekers allowance has fallen to 1.6% of the population.  That is down from 2.10% in November last year.

Employment trends click to enlarge

Employment trends click to enlarge

A total of 2133 York residents were claiming Job seekers allowance last month. This figure is likely to increase in January as seasonal jobs come to an end.

The lowest ever unemployed numbers were recorded in 2004 when only 1.2% were looking for jobs.

The change reflects an improving economy. The trend in the City almost exactly mirrors the national picture.

Nationally unemployment has dropped by 0.8 percentage points over the last year.

In York the improvement has been less at 0.6 percentage points.

At the last York Council, meeting the Labour Leadership tried to claim that the change was due to their decision to borrow and spend a £28 million Economic Infrastructure Fund. The Fund was started early in 2012.

However, by that time. unemployment had fallen from a peak of 4134 to 3682; a trend that continued.

The only quick way for the public sector to create jobs quickly  is – as Hitler and Mussolini demonstrated – by spending on public works (autobahns etc).  Such a short term policy does increase the number of construction jobs for a time at least.

The only work of this kind announced by the Council is the so called “bridge to nowhere” at the York Central site. Work on this won’t start for another couple of years at least.

The rest has been squandered on a plethora of uncoordinated initiatives ranging from “free” public WiFi to arts barges and the like.

The only direct effect that the present Council could claim to have had on the local economy is the creation of around 100 apprentice posts at the Council. These post were more than outweighed by job losses incurred as public service standards were been slashed.

The legacy will of course be a huge increase in the debt burden of each resident living in the City.

Vince Cable launches business survey in York

Vince Cable launching York Business survey

Vince Cable launching York Business survey

York born Business Secretary Vince Cable visited the city on Saturday to officially launch a major new business survey.

The Liberal Democrat survey looks at how local businesses can be supported and what more can be done to encourage employers to take on apprentices. It also asks businesses for their views on the Labour run Council’s decision to close Lendal Bridge and issues such as tax, barriers to taking on new staff and the impact of EU membership. The survey will initially be delivered to over 500 businesses across York in the coming weeks.

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, commented:

“I am delighted to support this effort to engage with local businesses in York. It is crucial that we listen to what employers are saying and ensure that everything is being done to support businesses locally as well as understanding the impact on the ground of national issues.

Speaking on the efforts to encourage employers to take-on apprentices, Vince Cable commented:

“Apprenticeships are one of this Government’s top priorities. Practical, technical and vocational skills should be valued as equals to academic achievement. Since 2010 1.2 million new apprenticeships have helped young people into work including over 4,000 in York. We need to continue this progress by highlighting successful schemes and by understanding what more can be done to encourage local employers to take on apprentices.”

As part of the survey the York Lib Dems will be establishing a new Local Business Forum. This will give employers in York an opportunity to discuss the local economy and the impact of City of York Council policies.