Lib Dems reveal York Council budget plans

Council Tax would be frozen and £3million of service cuts would be reversed under budget plans revealed by York’s Liberal Democrat Group.

The proposals, which will be tabled at City of York Council’s budget meeting on Thursday, would see a new £500,000 community fund created for residents to spend locally plus extra investment to boost recycling and tackle climate change.

LibDem budget plan would eliminate poor road surfaces in York

LibDem budget plan would eliminate poor road surfaces in York

The Lib Dem plans would see the controversial £3.3million ‘Reinvigorate York’ scheme – which funded the unpopular King’s Square revamp – cancelled and a reduction in funding on a new multi-million pound council IT project. Labour’s new £70,000-a-year ‘Head of Transformation’ would also face the axe and the number of Cabinet Members would be reduced.

Main Points of the Lib Dem amendment:

  • Accept the government’s grant to freeze council tax for all households in York.
  • Reverse £3million of Labour’s cuts to areas including community centres, youth services, children’s centres, social care, support to carers, grants to voluntary groups, litter and salt bins, road gully cleaning and road repairs.
  • Keep the ‘Minster Badge’ discounted parking scheme for residents which Labour plan to scrap.
  • Set-up a new £500,000 community fund for residents to spend on local priorities under a revamped Ward Committee system.
  • Cut borrowing for schemes such as ‘Reinvigorate York’, Labour’s new 5-year £6.1million IT project, and the proposed ‘Digital and Media Hub’.
  • Make savings by scrapping Labour’s ‘Delivery and Innovation Fund’ and ‘Economic Infrastructure Fund’, reducing Cabinet Members by two, and removing the Assistant Director of Transformation and Change post.
  • Extra investment to boost recycling by reviewing facilities at Towthorpe and in the west of York, introduce a new scheme to cut overall council carbon emissions over the next 10 years, and reinstate winter green bin collections.
  • Reduce cuts to youth and children’s services in 2014/15 and restate a commitment to stop Labour’s plans to close children’s centres after 2015.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Group Leader on City of York Council, commented:

“Our plans present a positive alternative to Labour’s approach. We would focus on residents by taking the government grant to freeze council tax and reversing cuts to areas such as road repairs, youth services and community centres.

“We would get rid of Labour’s new Head of Transformation and reduce lavish spending on £3.3million of city-centre schemes and the new £6.1million council IT project. Making cuts in these areas would allow us to prioritise resources on frontline services and give communities the money to spend on the ground.

“Experience tell us that it is residents who know where money should be spent in their communities’ not council officers sitting at their desks. We will give communities the money to spend locally – be it on more salt bins or new facilities in parks.

“Our plans would also begin to curb Labour’s reckless borrowing which has seen interest payments increase by 50% since 2011, and debt charges climb by over £1million-a-year.”

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