York council announces emergency fund for residents, businesses and communities

Photograph: York skyline by pxhere / fiver by Philip Veater on Unsplash
19 Mar 2020 @ 6.12 pm
| Politics

City of York Council is to introduce an emergency fund to help people hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Details of the fund, including the amount money available, have yet to be released.

But leader Keith Aspden told the executive committee – the last key council meeting before they are suspended – that the cash would be on top of government funding. He said:

  • We know many organisations are facing huge uncertainty, and we have to do as much as we can to protect incomes and livelihoods in such uncertain times.

    This is why City of York Council is currently working to introduce an emergency fund for to support our city.

    Details of this fund will be released next week, but its focus will be to support our residents, businesses and communities over the coming weeks, on top of any measures announced by the Government.

Boosting front line services

Cllr Aspden also said the council would act quickly to make sure residents and businesses can access the Government’s support packages as swiftly as possible.

He said the council was “opening conversations” with any of its commercial tenants who are likely to struggle in the coming weeks and months.

But the council stopped short of offering those tenants a rent holiday.

Interim head of paid service at the council Ian Floyd said: “Here in York, the retail, accommodation and leisure sectors, coupled with small businesses, are worth around £2bn to our economy and that is why the Council is urging the Government to process the available support as quickly as possible.”

He thanked council staff for their fantastic efforts, saying they “have been adjusting and re-focusing their efforts to support our communities over the coming months, particularly to ensure our frontline services can continue to operate to keep the city moving”.