York council accelerating payment of government grants to businesses

Chancellor Rishi Sunak clapping outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/PA Wire
10 Apr 2020 @ 6.14 pm
| Business

City leaders have reassured York’s businesses that the council is delivering on its promise to accelerate payments of government grants.

Over £7m had been paid by close of play yesterday (Thursday 9 April), meaning payment rates have increased every day this week.

It follows criticism from some businesses about the pace of the payments, after the money was sent to City of York Council by central government on 1 April.

Staff are working through the bank holiday to make sure the rate of acceleration continues.

More than £25 million additional payments will be waiting for banks to process when they reopen on Tuesday – subject to some applications being held where there is concern about fraud.

The total to be paid out is £48 million.

Nearly 3K applications

Cllr Andrew Waller

The council has received nearly 3,000 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 government has now issued new guidance and offered support with post-payment checks to help councils speed things up.

Council leader Keith Aspden said: “Getting this money into accounts quickly – and securely – is a priority.

“Local authorities across the country are working to balance quick payments with checks to stop the fraudsters who are sickeningly trying to take advantage of these unprecedented circumstances.

“We continue to review our practice every day, share experience with other local authorities, redeploy staff and make daily improvements to accelerate payments.”

Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy and strategic planning, said: “These businesses are worth around £2bn to York’s economy and create thousands of jobs. We understand that importance of getting this money where it is needed most – into the accounts of our city’s businesses.

“I’ve been talking to businesses and partners, and to the officers faced with designing and delivering a secure and quick distribution of around £114m of government relief to businesses.

“I’ve always assured businesses that we’ll do everything we can to gather pace. This is happening, and will continue until every business has its grant.”

He said the council was offering a range of support, advice and guidance for businesses, including free advertising across our local media – including on YorkMix – for any businesses still operating.

For all the council support available please visit this website.