Proposals to protect frontline services, invest in communities and tackle the climate emergency are to be discussed by senior Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors at a meeting next week (13 February).
Over recent years, the Council has seen its funding from the Conservative Government significantly decline. The Council’s revenue support grant, which had previously totalled over £58 million in 2007, has now been reduced to £0. 2018 and 2019 have also seen tremendous financial pressure placed on York’s Adult Social Care system, placing further strain on the Council’s finances.
In response to these challenges, Liberal Democrat Councillors have worked hard to ensure that the new Council Budget proposes significant investment in a number of priority areas; protecting frontline services, tackling the climate emergency, investing in young people and supporting the services which protect some of the most vulnerable in our city.
Following the recent budget consultation, residents and businesses highlighted their priority areas for the upcoming budget. The most cited areas for investment were: maintenance and development of highways and infrastructure assets (80%); maintenance and upkeep of schools (79%); renewable energy to reduce council and city energy bills (76%) and the refurbishment of parks, play areas and libraries (76%).
Key proposals in this year’s Budget include:
- Over £1 million to create a new ‘Neighbourhood Street Service’ which will work to tackle a variety of local issues, from fly-tipping, to improving waste collections and protecting grass verges;
- An additional £12 million to improve the city’s roads over the coming years, including the creation of dedicated pothole repair team
- Over £4.5 million to support crucial adult social care services, in order to ensure the most vulnerable in our city are cared for;
- Over £4 million to kick-start new initiatives in tackling the climate emergency. This includes £200K to update the Local Transport Plan, £300K for a Climate Change Delivery Programme and £3 million to support the development of the Northern Forest over a number of years;
- Over £700K to invest in the city’s young people, including £500K to improve school accessibility, £30K for Early Years support schemes, £50K to deliver early mental health support, and over £40K to create a series of summer school projects.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:
“Council’s continue to face unprecedented financial pressures, particularly with the on-going national crisis in adult social care. Nonetheless, Liberal Democrat Councillors have worked hard to ensure that resident’s priorities are reflected in this year’s Council budget, from protecting our frontline services to tackling the climate emergency.”
“These proposals, including a new neighbourhood street service, increased funding to improve our roads, the creation of a pothole repair team and new initiatives to tackle the climate emergency, correlate with the feedback we have received from residents, businesses and communities.”
“We have worked committed to ensuring that the Council Budget process is more open and transparent, and I look forward to discussing these ambitious proposals at Executive next week.”