With the Council continuing to face significant financial challenges, City of York Council has stepped up its regional and national lobbying efforts.
The lobbying will urge the Government to seize the opportunities that are unique to York and make the city an ‘exemplar’ of driving recovery.
Since the pandemic was declared, the Council has seen demand for services increase, whilst at the same time, income has considerably fallen. Early indications suggest that the Council is facing a £23 million* shortfall in its budget. Over recent months, in addition to Government support, the Council has prioritised resources to support the most vulnerable in the city, as well as invested over £2 million to create local emergency funds to support the city’s businesses and residents facing financial hardship.
There are opportunities unique to York that if taken will help kick-start the economic recovery of the region. Recently it was agreed that the Council, with its partners, would develop a 10-year City Plan to enable York and the region to build back better by drawing on the city’s strengths; from utilising the biotech industry in the city, to seizing the once in a lifetime regeneration opportunity in York Central. It is clear that, with further funding, York can go far in driving the recovery of our city and region.
That is why to truly build back better, City of York Council is urging the Government to make York an exemplar of how to lead ‘recovery’ in the North of England and the funding needed to unlock York’s potential and build on the work already taking place in the city. With additional funding, City of York Council could:
- Make £25 million available to further support local businesses in adapting to the crisis;
- Enhance York’s world-renowned culture, creativity and heritage by making extra funding available to support local museums, libraries, arts and more;
- Scale up the support on offer to residents facing financial hardship, particularly through the use of the York Financial Assistance Scheme;
- Provide much needed funding for small charities and voluntary sector organisations who do not have the resources to fundraise themselves;
- Speed up the delivery of critical regeneration projects and citywide infrastructure schemes, from York Central, to the dualling of York Outer Ring Road.
The campaign will support and link up with the work of other organisations and Councils who are lobbying for further funding for local authorities, including the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, IPPR North, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and more. As part of the campaign, City of York Council will also be producing a submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, outlining the financial challenges for the Council, and highlighting the opportunities to invest in the city in partnership with the Government.
*The Council has not updated its budget forecast. Most of the speculative income loss relates to lower Council Tax and Business Rate income, although car parking income is down (and likely to remain so as long as parts of popular car parks remain bollarded off). The Council still intends to borrow increasing amounts of money and has made no announcements regarding any savings strategy.