More than £100m paid out to 5.5K businesses in York as part of emergency coronavirus support

Photograph: GoSimpleTax on Flickr / YorkMix
17 Apr 2020 @ 4.24 pm
| Business

More than £100 million of grants and relief has been paid out to 5,500 business as part of City of York Council’s efforts to support businesses and protect jobs during the coronavrirus outbreak.

A specialist team has worked round the clock to ensure businesses get the government grants and business rates relief as quickly as possible, whilst carrying out rigorous checks to make sure that fraudsters cannot take advantage of the situation.

The £100m is made up of two main funding sources:

  1. business rates relief which accounts for £66m
  2. and £34m in business grants, paid out to over 2,500 accounts.

Working round the clock

Council leader Keith Aspden said: “We have listened to businesses and recognised that processing these payments as quickly as possible was vital to ensuring the long-term resilience of businesses and York’s economy.

“That is why council officers have been working round the clock to progress these payments, whilst ensuring all the required checks are met.”

For businesses who do not meet the requirements for the government’s businesses grants, the council has created a local emergency fund of £1 million to support the city’s small and micro businesses.

Since opening applications for the grants the council has received more than 3,500 applications and has been working to speed up a process which includes government-defined requirements to:

  • collect company information including VAT registration details
  • clear every application through the government’s anti-fraud systems
  • verify bank details and company identity

The council is working through the remaining payments as fast as possible.

This includes carrying out anti-fraud checks for companies which have never had a financial relationship with the council before, and those where clarity is required over who is liable for business rates – and therefore the grant – at the property.

The council is reminding businesses that it may contact them by phone, and to follow this advice to speed up the process and guard against fraud.

  • We may contact you by phone. Make sure you have your unique application form reference number – which you received after you applied for the grant – and your business rates account number to hand. We may also use part of your bank details to verify your identity. Only the council and the correct applicant will know these details. 
  • The council will never ask you for a payment. If you are at all suspicious, hang up the phone and contact the public protection team straight away, by email protection@york.gov.ukor 01904 551525.
  • Please don’t contact the council just to check on the timing of your payment as this will only slow payments down, and please do not reply to this email as we will not be able to respond.

Any business which believes it is eligible for the government grants but is yet to apply should do so immediately at www.york.gov.uk/COVIDBusinessGrant

  • We’re contacting all businesses in these cases to try and resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
  • Urge any business that hasn’t applied to get in touch. We will chase all those we believe are eligible soon.

For all the support available for businesses in York please visit www.york.gov.uk/BusinessSupport