York’s economy ‘only marginally affected by Covid’

York’s economy remains strong and it is one of 17 UK cities which has “only been marginally affected by Covid” – according to a major research body.

Centre For Cities data also shows that York still has the lowest number of residents receiving benefits, primarily for unemployment, of any city in the UK.

The report says York had the lowest level of benefit claimants before the pandemic in March 2020 and during the pandemic in November 2020.

It also suggests the city’s economy will remain strong after the pandemic.

Cllr Andrew Waller said the research suggests “there should be some optimism” but that more support is needed from government.

He said: “Whilst the data in the report shows that York is currently in a better economic position, but we know that more support is needed for our local businesses and residents, as the real extent of the economic crisis facing our city unravels over this year.”

‘Government must step up’

Cllr Andrew Waller

Cllr Waller said: “Whilst this has been a uniquely challenging year for York’s economy, there should be some optimism that York has held up better in comparison to other cities across the country.

“This recognises the tremendous efforts made by local businesses, and the support the council together with its partners have been able to provide quickly to help protect jobs.

“The report, however, does make clear that if the government was to fail to act decisively there is a real risk that their policies would in the longer term see our region ‘level down’.

“The Government must take note of this and put councils on a strong financial footing, ready to address their local challenges.

“Levelling up must become more than just a phrase ministers use in the media, it must produce real results on the ground especially for young people who feel at risk of missing out most.

“We will be working with partners to draw attention to where support is not reaching businesses, and the self-employed.

“We will continue to work with the city’s businesses and partners to ensure that all is done to protect livelihoods and jobs people across York.

“In turn, government must step up and answer our calls for comprehensive support, including boosting Universal Credit, extending the VAT cut, Business Rates relief and the furlough scheme, as well as introducing plans for long-term investment in the north to support emerging sectors, skills and training.”