THE council has not chased any businesses renting its commercial properties for rent payments - and has not asked the tenants to pay money back by the end of the year.

City of York Council owns about 1,000 business properties and announced in April that it would not issue invoices for commercial rents - instead spreading the annual rental bill over the next three quarters.

But speaking at a council meeting, chair of Indie York Johnny Hayes urged the local authority to rethink their plans. He asked for rents to be considered case by case “to allow those businesses a chance to survive”.

He added: "The level of rent that the business owner has to pay can make the difference between survival or returning the keys.

"The [council's coronavirus] recovery plan fails to mention the crucial role of the landlord and the tenant and the very high cost of rents in York ."

Cllr Nigel Ayre said: "We have not contacted any of the businesses which pay us those commercial rents to say they'll have to pay by the end of the year and this certainly isn't our intention."

He added that a paper detailing plans to help commercial tenants through the next stage of recovery is due soon.