What’s in a name?

confused1The York Council courted controversy in 2012 when announcing that it was setting up a £28 million Economic Infrastructure Fund (EIF)

The controversy centred on the Labour leadership’s decision to add around £20 million to the Council debts by borrowing much of the fund (the rest was to come from the governments “new homes bonus” deal).

Now a report has been published on the Councils “equalities” plan which shows a somewhat cavalier approach to history and consistency.

We are now assured as aprt of a report on “equalities” that the £28 million has been invested in an “Economic Inclusion Fund (EIF)” !!

The fund is actually being used to pay for projects such as:

  • Refurbishment of Kings Square
  • Acquisition of an “Arts Barge”
  • Tour de France start
  • Newgate market refurbishment
  • New City centre bus stops
  • Holgate Road bridge into the York central site (“bridge to nowhere”)
  • Paving a small section of Fossgate
  • Paving the entrance to Hungate


Very little of this expenditure has contributed to a reduction in “inequalities” in the City.

When the Council comes to discuss the plan, no doubt someone will point out that the Equalities plan is already over 12 months behind scheduled.

Inventing links to existing – borderline reckless – capital expenditure decisions is disingenuous in the extreme.

York has lower than average employment levels – official

The York Central constituency falls below the rest of the country on several measures revealed by the Office of National Statistics today.

click to access

click to access

The proportion of the population in employment (different from the statistics on the numbers claiming Job Seekers Allowance which are normally quoted) is 70%.

This is slightly below the national average.

Other stats include:

  • 84% of residents are in “good health” well above the national average
  • It has fewer people(13%) aged over 65 than the average ranking at 531 out of a total of 632 parliamentary constituencies nationwide.
  • 14% are claiming state pension compared to nearly 19% across the UK
  • The number of business enterprises per 10,000 residents is 267 units well below the national average
  • 7.3% of the population is “non white” which is again below the national average

Click the graphic to access an information map covering the whole country.

York Employers looking for 50 young, talented people

On the back of the successful York Apprenticeship Challenge, which saw over 160 Apprenticeship vacancies created in 100 days, City of York Council is reminding residents that vacancies are still available across the city.

Currently there are 50 Apprenticeship jobs available in a variety of sectors including business admin, media, ICT, dental nursing, finance and many more.

Residents invited to city’s fifth jobs fair

City of York Council is encouraging jobseekers and residents wanting to improve their skills and qualifications to visit a jobs fair at York Railway Institute on Tuesday 30 September from 10am to 3pm. US-unemployment-jobs-fair-007

The event, which has been organised through partnerships between the council, York Learning, Job Centre Plus and Learning City York aims to bring together local employers to offer advice and the chance to speak face to face to businesses about employment opportunities in the city.

Unemployment numbers down in York

Figures released today (17 September) by the Office for National Statistics have shown the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) has fallen by 42.8 per cent since August 2013.

Today’s figures means the number of claimants in York has fallen for the sixth consecutive month.

The statistics show there to be 1,441 claimants in York, a decrease of 75 from last month.

The claimant count represents 1.1 per cent of the working population contrasts to the regional average which stands at 3 per cent.

The figures are also much lower than the national average which is currently 2.3 per cent.

Today’s figures mean there are 1,010 less claimants than in August 2013.


Acomb Business Rates discount

Mystery deepens over Council decision as FOI response reveals only 4 empty units may be affected.

11-15 Front Street

11-15 Front Street

The Labour Cabinet came under fire earlier in the month when it nodded through a proposal to give 50% Rates relief to any empty property in the “Acomb” area that was brought back into use.

Now the Councils list of empty retail (and commercial) properties in the YO24 and YO26 area has been published.

The list reveals that the main “problem” property (which is also very prominent) is 11 – 15 Front Street (part of which was formerly occupied by Superdrug). We understand that the property was sold be the Coop Bank a couple of years ago and is now understood to be back on the market.

Many will feel that this site needs redeveloping although what Rates discount would apply to new properties remains unclear.

As we have said before, there is a good case for improving on the government scheme which gives a Rates discount on re-occupied properties which have been empty for more than 12 months.

However if discounts apply from day one then this could rightly be regarded as unfair competition by existing traders.

It was pointed out at the time, that the area of benefit was ill defined and – if it was intended to boost the Front Street area – then it needed to be focussed on longer term empty properties.

With the recession now ending it appeared that most shops had either been occupied or were under offer. Some prime sites are now understood to be changing hands at a premium.

The LibDems submitted the following comments to the meeting earlier in the month

The Liberal Democrat Group was disappointed that the Labour Cabinet did not support a comprehensive regeneration proposal for Front Street at July’s full Council.

 This proposal, which uses powers given to Councils by the Coalition Government, seems to have been cobbled together in a rush – as the rewrites in the paper published on the council website indicate. Key details such as which exact area the discount will apply within are missing (the council papers refer only to “Acomb”). The paper does not explain why the scheme is restricted to retail premises (the similar Government scheme refers to all businesses) and it does not explain how temporary ‘pop-up’ units will affect entitlements.

 We would also like further information on how the process will work given the September deadline for applications. The concern that the discount could be used by national chains, moving into prime sites immediately as leases become available, is not addressed and no alternative proposals are considered e.g. focusing discounts on properties which have been empty for over 3 months (business rates are not payable on a commercial property for the first 3 months that it is empty).

 The Council needs to act promptly to clear u the confusion caused by its decision

York unemployment down again

Jobs growth in UK

Jobs growth in UK

Unemployment in York fell to 1.1% in June.

This is down from 1.8% 12 months ago.

Unemployment is now less than North Yorkshire (1.2 %) Yorkshire (3.1%) and Great Britain (2.4%).

Although attention will now switch to the quality of jobs in the City – and maybe concerns about labour shortfalls in areas like care services and retail – effectively the City now has full employment.



Free business advice offered at drop-in events

Businesses can benefit from free advice on a variety of areas as York hosts two Pop-Up Business Advice events next week.

Your Bike Shed, Micklegate will host the event on Wednesday 13 August between 8am and 12noon where businesses can drop-in for advice on social media and digital marketing, business Start-up, planning and advice, commercial law and many more. (more…)