City leaders want ‘urgent’ support for hospitality and retail

Leaders from across York have sent an open letter to the Chancellor urgently calling for a comprehensive package of support for the hospitality and retail sectors.

The letter has been signed by key business leaders and organisations from across the city, including Greg Dyke, chairman of Make It York, Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, David Kerfoot, chairman of York and North Yorkshire LEP, Carolyn Frank, development manager for Federation of Small Businesses North Yorkshire and Andrew Lowson, executive director, York Business Improvement District.

It calls for a coordinated, comprehensive package of support for the sectors – including confirmation that the current reduced level of VAT will be maintained for a minimum of 12 months following the end of any final lockdown – and that the Business Rates relief and the furlough scheme will similarly be extended.

Leaders want the Chancellor to consider a range of targeted Government grants for the sector to deal with the ongoing problems created by the pandemic.

Their letter also urges an introduction from April 2021 of a new Government-guaranteed, zero interest business loan scheme to ensure businesses have the necessary working capital or cashflow to restart post-pandemic.

Greg Dyke said: “Safeguarding the future of York’s hospitality and retail industry is absolutely vital and more must be done by the Government to protect and support the many businesses in the city within these sectors.

“The additional support measures we’re calling for are critical for ensuring that these sectors thrive post-pandemic, and that we protect businesses and jobs within the city.”

Cllr Aspden added: “Since the very beginning of this pandemic, we have been urging the Government to back York and provide the necessary funding to our local business community to help them through this incredibly challenging time.

“With the economic impact of Covid-19 becoming ever more apparent, I am pleased to be joining partners from across the city to urge the Government to step up on this issue and provide a comprehensive package of support for York’s hospitality and retail sectors.

“York has the qualities to build back better from this pandemic, but the Government must provide the funding to support our recovery and most importantly, protect businesses, jobs and livelihoods.”