Unemployed down again

Jobs growth (national)

Jobs growth (national)

The number of unemployed in York has fallen to its lowest level since 2008.

The latest ONS figures show only 1.4% claiming JSA in the City in April. (1.9% Men, 1.0% Women)

The improvement reflects an upward trend in employment levels across the whole country.

The national figures show the largest quarterly rise in employment since stats were started 40 years ago.

York businesses win government grants

Seven York businesses are celebrating after they recently secured Local Enterprise Partnership Business Support Grants and more businesses can still benefit from the scheme.

The York businesses which  have successfully secured funding are; Choc Affair, Eborcraft, Andrews Signs & Engravers, Trustspan Timber Engineering, Mercers of Yorkshire, Yorvale Ice Cream and Muddy Boots Nursery.

The grants were received from York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership and Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership who are still offering grants to businesses who are looking to make capital investment in land, buildings, plant, machinery and equipment, or towards research and development projects which will lead to new products and job creation.

The funding comes from the Government’s £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF), which supports eligible projects and programmes which raise private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.


April figures see York unemployment level down to 1.6%


The latest ONS figures reveal that there are 1430 men and 682 women unemployed and seeking work in York at the end of March.

This represents 1.6% of the working population and compares to the regional average of 3.8%

The total of  2122 represents a reduction from the January total of 2183.

Unemployment in the City has reduced by 931 over the last year.

The improvement can be traced to the general economic recovery underpinned by several specific Coalition government initiatives

York to get Ultra-Fast Broadband


The news that Sky/TalkTalk are to launch an ultrafast broadband service in the City, possibly as early as next year, is welcome.

The high speeds on offer will be a boon to businesses in the City particularly those in the technology reliant sectors.

It may also provide a boost for “home workers”.

The City has many broadband providers but the domestic market is dominated by the BT network and Virgin.

Virgin in particular provides a high speed service – shortly to increase to 150 mps in some areas – which most leisure/domestic users will find adequate. It comes at a price though.

Competition is generally good for the consumer.

There may, however, be some downsides.

Unless the new network provider – CityFibre – can utilise existing utility ducts, we could be in for another period of damaged footpaths. NTL (Virgins predecessor) didn’t win many friends as it ploughed up the City’s streets nearly 20 years ago.

A technique called “micro trenching” will apparently be used (details here)

And pricing will be important. Commercial users will take a hardnosed approach.

Residents living in the suburbs and villages around York may, however, find that the market simply couldn’t fund the new infrastructure at this point in time.

We will see.

In the meantime the Council Leadership is promising “citywide” coverage.


City leaders back High Speed Rail College for York

York central site

York central site

York’s political party Group Leaders have backed calls for the Government proposed High Speed Rail College to be situated in York.

The college, expected to deliver specialised training and qualifications needed to construct high speed rail, will not only benefit HS2 but other future infrastructure projects in the region.

The first new incorporated further education college in over 20-years, it will offer technical training ensuring HS2 can be built by skilled British workers including; rail engineering, environmental skills and construction.

York Central site proposed

York Central has today been put forward for consideration for the new national high speed rail college.

The proposed hub would be located on a site next to the rail station in York, on land owned by Network Rail, yet harnessing the strengths of employers and skills providers from a broader geographic region through the rail connectivity this location affords, up and down the East Coast Mainline, and across to West Yorkshire through the Transpennine route.


Acomb market plans take step forward

Acomb Alive, the voluntary committee which is driving the regeneration of the Front Street area, have published a new newsletter.

Page 1 click to enlarge

Page 1 click to enlarge

Page 2 click to enlarge

Page 2 click to enlarge

In it they reveal plans which could lead to a street market being established in part of the (pedestrianised) section of Front Street.

This was the idea put forward a year ago by the Liberal Democrats, residents and traders but which received only half hearted support from the Council.

The present Council’s continuing antipathy towards Acomb is evident from the latest plans which show only a handful of stall spaces being made available.

Front Street market plan click to enlarge

Front Street market plan click to enlarge

What the area needs is a sustained boost to “footfall” figures if it is to benefit for the current improvement in the economy.

NB. An Easter Fair will take place on Saturday 19th April between 9:00am and 4:00pm at the Working Mens Club.

The fair will include an Easter bonnet competition.

York Firms to Stand Out from the Crowd


City of York Council has teamed up with York Science Park to welcome highly regarded speakers to share their knowledge with York firms over a free business lunch on Thursday 10 April at York Science Park.

The event gives companies a chance to hear from top Crowdfunding experts from Seedrs and Rebuilding Society and to learn how to how to pitch for investment on a Crowdfunding site.


York Council spent £5,747 on trip to Cannes

York twinned with Cannes. Improvement in fireworks expected

York twinned with Cannes. Improvement in fireworks expected

Labour have been forced to admit that they spent £5,747 sending 3 senior officers to this years Estate Agents convention in Cannes.

In 2013 the bill was even higher.

The Council have not revealed how much their partner organisation the “Leeds City Region” – also partly funded by York taxpayers – has spent on the jaunt.

The breakdown for the costs to York Taxpayers are:

“Kersten England (CX) (2 night stay); Katie Stewart (Head of ED) and Andrew Sharp (Strategy and Investment Manager for ED) (both 4 night stays) attended.

Accommodation: £2943.95

Travel: £2653.24

Subsistence for KS and AS: £150 approx.”

In a written answer to a question posed at last nights Council meeting about what tangible benefits attendance at this conference had produced, the Council Leader was less forthcoming.

“Ultimately the benefits of this year’s event will be better known only in the months and years that follow when we see what investor interest results from our attendance”.

So in other words “I’ve no idea”

When pressed further on the benefits of the Cannes initiative he was equally vague

He was asked “What is the value of the investment – detailing each development separately – made in York which can be directly attributed to the Council and its partners’ participation in the 2013 MIPIM event?”


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.

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.


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: