Against a background of a difficult national economic situation, there were bound to be reduction in some Council budgets for the forthcoming year.
Labour’s decision to target front line services for cuts is a complete reversal of the promises that they made last year.
Instead they are putting millions into ill defined investment funds and are proposing to borrow £20 million over the next 5 years to prop up their ambitions.
The City simply can’t afford such a “gung ho” approach.
The City’s basic infrastructure has to be maintained.
The alternative budget (right) not only takes advantage of an additional £1.8 million in government funding for Councils that freeze tax levels, but it also follows a clear set of priorities.
These priorities are to sustain investment in:
1. Crime prevention
2. Personal Safety programmes
3. Services affecting vulnerable people
4. Unemployment reduction programmes
5. The quality of day to day services used by large numbers of people
6. York Pride type neighbourhood services
Capital investment would be concentrated on schemes that reduce running costs such as the new Salvage and Recycling centre at Harewood Whin, which is aimed at controlling the escalating burden on taxpayers for landfill penalties. Total expenditure would be limited to income from capital receipts (land sales), government grants like the transport fund and the “new homes bonus”. Apart from the unspecified “Economic Development Fund” activities, all other aspects of the capital programme would continue including the provision of 2 new park and ride sites.
Some schemes might be delayed while others, such as the provision of WiFi access in the City centre, we would expect to be funded by the private sector