Council spin aims to fool media and residents about budget cuts

Highways maintenance funding - Double click to enlarge

Ward committee budget - click to enlarge


Sad, but not surprising, to see the Labour spin machine at work in The Press. Some of the figures quoted in articles about the Council budget are just plain wrong.

Highways maintence expenditure is reducing by a massive 56%. The effect on the safety of our roads and footpaths will be dramatic

Similarly Ward Committee expenditure – on projects like security patrols, CCTV and improved parking arrangements and which have been prioritised by York Residents – will be reduced by an unprecidented 65%.

Click the calculations right – which have been verified by the Councils professional officers – for details.

The savings are not being used to help the less well off.

They will fund the interest payments on vanity projects like the £20 million borrowing on a “re-energise York” programme as well as the Council Leaders personal £1 million pa “delivery and imnnovation” slush fund.

North Yorkshire Police mobile safety (speed) camera routes 8 – 14 February 2012

North Yorkshire Police will be carrying out mobile safety camera enforcement on the following roads between Wednesday 8 February and Tuesday 14 February 2012.

•A64 west-bound carriageway, Bowbridge Farm, Tadcaster
•A19 Selby Road, Whitley
•Brayton Lane, Brayton, Selby
•Barff Lane, Brayton, Selby Westcroft Lane, Hambleton
•A19 Selby Road, Whitley
•Millfield Lane, Chappel Haddlesley
•Northfield Farm, Cobcroft Lane, Cridling Stubbs
•Skipwith Road, Escrick
•A63 Hemingbrough
•Church Lane, Wheldrake
•A64 Seamer by-pass Scarborough
•B1249 Staxton Wold, Staxton, Scarborough
•B1249 Foxholes to county boundary
•A1039 Filey Road at Flixton
•A165 Reighton by-pass
•A64 Seamer Road, Scarborough

The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the above sites at various times during the dates stated. Cameras will not be in use on the above routes all day, every day. The above locations were accurate when this news release was produced.

An iron curtain descends

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The Council are scrapping the public decision sessions at which Cabinet/Executive members considered policy changes in their departments. The meetings heard representations from other Councillors, interest groups and residents.

They were open to the Press.

Now the Councils Audit and Governance committee is to consider a proposal which would see such decisions taken “informally” behind closed doors with no opportunity for residents to influence what was discussed.

The decision sessions include those that decide traffic management and parking restriction changes. Detailed road layout plans and subsidised bus service arrangements also came to the sessions.

Until recently the decisions were subject to an open debate in what were known as Executive Member Advisory Panels, but these were abolished by Labour.

Now it seems that the first that residents will find out about decisions is when they see work starting in the street.

A similar plan would see the requirement for senior officers to keep a public record of their decisions also abolished.

Labour’s broken promises in York

Now that we know what Labour’s budget proposals are for the City over the next couple of years, we compare here their election manifesto promises with their newly revealed plans.

The Liberal Democrat alternative budget will be explained at the York Council meeting later in the month


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Labour to reduce number of roads that are gritted.

Labour are proposing to reduce the number of streets that are treated with salt. A £10,000 a year budget cut means that fewer areas will see gritters in future, although Labour are not saying which streets will lose the service.

Coming in the wake of a weekend when the existing gritting provision was put under enormous pressure, fears have been raised that the move will lead to more accidents.

The Council also plan to leave salt bins out on the streets for 12 months of the year, prompting fears that they will be vandalised. The bins are normally placed in the Council depot in summer where they are repaired and refurbished.

The new Council budget will allow bins to be filled only 3 times a year in future.

The Council are however finding £500,000 as their share of a £6million plan to extend the Art Gallery

When is a budget “efficiency” saving really a cut in pubic service standards?

Summary of cuts being made by the Labour Council. double click to enlarge

A summary of where public services cuts will be made over the next couple of years has been published by the Council. It reveals the split by department.

It admits that £1.87 million in 2012/13 will come from “service cuts” while claiming that another £5.4 million represents “efficiency savings”.

On close examination many of the “efficiencies” are no such thing. They are cuts in service standards.

Reproduced below is a list of some of them.

We will publish a list of the cuts that the Council is now admitting to shortly.

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York Council Budget: Labour announce closure of recycling centre, car park charges up 18%

Beckfield Lane recycling centre

The Labour controlled Council has announced that they are closing the Beckfield Lane recycling centre.

The centre was due to have been replaced by a new “Salvage and Re-use centre” at Harewood Whin but this to has also now been cut from the Councils plans.

The decisions are bad news generally for York Council Taxpayers as the amount of rubbish land filled is likely to increase. This in turn will mean taxpayers facing a bigger bill for, the rapidly escalating, “landfill tax”.

The Acomb side of the City has done particularly badly out of the cuts imposed by the Labour administration. The Acomb Office is set to close later this month and the number 4 ftr bus service will be scrapped in May.

Hugh reductions in the amount spent on the elderly, children’s play and other neighbourhood improvements are also being implemented as ward committee budgets are slashed by nearly half.

Instead, Labour are pouring money into the City centre with gimmicks, like an extended “WiFi zone” and a £100,000 pay on exit arrangement at one car park, sucking funds away from other parts of the City.

NB. Car parking charges are set to rise by 20p an hour for York residents. The increase of between 12% (short stay) and 18% (long stay) is the largest in the City since Labour were last in power in April 2003.

Budget headlines

Labour are announcing today their Council budget for the next 2 years.

• Council Tax up by 2.9% in April 2012 and at least 2.0% more from April 2013 (£54 pa)

• Council House rents up by 7.4%

• Business rates up by 5.8%

• Water and sewage up by 6.1%

• Car parking charges up

• 8% cut in grants for voluntary sector

• 200 jobs to go over next 2 years

• Council to borrow £20 million more

• £2.8 million in public service standard cuts over 24 months.

• £5.4M a year in “efficiency” improvements

• Libraries to be outsourced

• More to pay for increased numbers requiring elderly care and for looked after children
• £100k for consultants to prepare a “bus contract”

Acomb Green playground improvement contract

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Following the news that the Friends of Acomb Green were successful in obtaining lottery funding for improvements to the playground, the Council has now invited tenders for the work.

The budget for the project is £45,000, excluding VAT. Tender must be submitted by 12 noon on the 6th February 2012.

Works have to be completed before the end of May 2012.