The city’s Opposition Labour Group Leader and Deputy Leader joined York Central MP Rachael Maskell recently to talk with businesses on Acomb Front Street for Small Business Saturday.
They heard from businesses who said they were seeing about 80% of pre-Covid trade, as people ‘tighten their belts’ to adjust to the increased cost of living, such as significantly higher energy bills.
Labour Group Leader, Cllr Pete Kilbane said:
“Both Cllr Douglas and I have experience of running small businesses, and we get the challenges traders in Front Street are facing. I’ve experience in Bishy Road of supporting traders there to maximise footfall, such as through the staging of special events. I’d like to use that experience to support traders in Acomb, who have found things tough for a sustained period now”.
Labour’s Deputy Leader and spokesperson for the economy, Cllr Claire Douglas said:
“The impression being created is that the economy is recovering but it’s very much a mixed picture, with many small businesses struggling to return to normal trading levels as people feel the pinch. It was great to talk to the small business owners on Front Street to hear what they think the challenges are to getting back to a stronger trading position.
“One of their frustrations was not knowing what’s happened to the money that’s been earmarked by the council to support Front Street. Traders desperately need any help they can get at the moment to encourage footfall and help increase spending locally, but they say they feel left in the dark”.
York Central MP, Rachael Maskell said:
“It was so good to meet businesses on Front Street, who like shop workers across the city have worked so hard to support their communities and to keep our high streets alive during the last couple of years.
“Local shops are still facing serious challenges this winter, and welcome the support from their local communities. Front Street traders were promised proper investment of the high street years ago and still await a vital upgrade of the area. The Council must act. Government too must revise business support and business rates to ensure that our high streets across York are buzzing communities where we want to shop and spend time.”