York council launches £1 million fund to help city’s small and micro businesses

25 Mar 2020 @ 6.27 pm
| Business

City of York Council has announced a £1 million emergency fund to support businesses in dealing with the impacts of Covid-19. 

The fund will target a range of support at around 1,000 small and micro firms, who are not set to benefit from the recently announced Government support packages.

A council spokesman said it was “engaging with business support services and partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support, with full details to be announced in the coming days”. 

And council leader Keith Aspden added:

  • In addition to the £1 million emergency fund for business, there will be a separate hardship fund of £1.25m to support residents, which we’ll announce details of soon.

    In the meantime, any resident facing financial difficulty should apply to our hardship scheme immediately.

‘We’re pulling out all the stops’

Cllr Andrew Waller

Other support agreed by the council includes:

  • all 350 council commercial rents deferred for three months
  • all planned increase in fees and charges are suspended 
  • a license fee ‘holiday’ for businesses which can’t use them
  • suspending debt recovery efforts.

It also pledged to support key suppliers, by: 

  1. Paying those providing services to council and maintained schools, and bus providers for tendered routes and concessionary fares
  2. Paying in advance where possible, and for planned annual activity.
  3.   Exploring the potential for short-term loans.

“These measures are designed to protect jobs and help local businesses who are having to adapt to extremely challenging circumstances and fall outside the remit of any government support,” Cllr Aspden said.

Executive member for the economy Andrew Waller said: “We want to get help to businesses as quickly as possible to assist them at this critical time. We would encourage other property landlords to take the same approach.

“We’re making the case to central government, and hope in particular that more measures will be announced soon to support the city’s 12,000 self-employed people.

“We’re pulling out all the stops to deliver the existing government support as quickly as possible, including changing over 4,000 business rates accounts and develop a totally new process to distribute up to £30m in grants at the start of April.

“We’re also working with the York BID, LEPS and other partners to connect businesses to all the available advice, guidance and support, so we’d urge any business to visit www.york.gov.uk/BusinessSupport to see what is available to them.”