West Offices

York’s Green Party budget amendment published today (to be debated on Thursday) responds to both the continuing decimation of council services and the need for a clear vision facing up to the climate change emergency at a local level.

Greens would
reverse the most painful cuts to day services for adults with disabilities and
older people. They would reverse £200,000 of cuts to public health spending
would  to be allocated by the Director of Public Health where most needed
following big spending cuts in recent years to health visitors, school nurses,
sexual health, smoking cessation and substance abuse services.

ward councillor Cllr Denise Craghill said “These services not only make a real
difference to the quality of life of our most vulnerable residents but also
contribute massively to prevention of further demands on other services.”

Other key
social projects would include a half million pound ‘Housing First’ initiative
to tackle homelessness, a mental health champion for the city and an outreach
worker to support take up of emergency funding for those struggling with debt
and delays to benefit payments.

would fund these vital changes through a Council Tax increase of just over an
additional 1%, the same as proposed in this year’s Labour amendment.” said
group leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne 

environmental agenda is also a major focus, with the re-instatement of the
Climate Change/ Sustainability Officer to rigorously monitor and coordinate
actions across the council. A waste reduction and recycling officer would
oversee introduction of city centre recycling bins, improved communal recycling
arrangements for council flats a new green waste collection round to cater for
current gaps across the city, and reports on options for weekly doorstep food
waste collection and recycling a wider range of plastics.

A new
Affordable Energy Fund would help boost energy efficiency and insulation work
and a Sustainable Schools Programme would link educational and financial
benefits of energy efficiency work in schools. Greens are still pressing for a
study to learn from examples in Bristol and Nottingham using a council energy
company to help lower energy bills, cut fuel poverty and tackle carbon
emissions more rapidly. 

Better use
of and care for our outdoor spaces is also on their agenda. “A Green Spaces
Development post would work across the council, with ward teams and resident
groups to improve green spaces and develop pocket parks. This would allow
things to move forward alongside core work responsibilities of staff who
maintain what we already have in place” said Green group leader Cllr Andy
D’Agorne. “Alongside this we would allocate a relatively small annual sum for
locking up parks at night and an additional professional gardener to support volunteer
groups and restore pride in neglected public gardens across the city” he added.

Outdoor play
would also be enhanced with a Play Officer overseeing creation of new play
provision in shortage area and two new youth worker posts would help address anti-social
behaviour and lack of facilities for teenagers.

safe attractive sustainable travel options is also a key concern for the

Bus users
would benefit from a half million pound fund to improve facilities for bus
users. Greens would also restore £100,000 of cuts to the council support for
subsidised bus routes and bring in the option for secure overnight parking at
park and ride sites. The free city centre shuttle bus first proposed 4 years
ago is also proposed for a trial.

“With city
centre security, station frontage changes and York Central high on the agenda
this is clearly an idea we should be developing further” said Cllr D’Agorne

A Clean Air
Project Officer would help to raise awareness of the health implications of
idling engines and short car journeys when compared to active health benefits
of walking and cycling to work, study or local shops.

This would
be complemented by a Disabled Access Investment Fund and a Pedestrian Priority
Programme of one million pounds which could help develop alternative travel
options and improve pedestrian environments across the city with new walking
routes, dropped kerbs and pedestrian crossings.

Putting York
back on the map on a level with Oxford and Cambridge for cycling is part of the
vision to be taken forward by their half million pound Cycling Investment Fund
to develop ‘Dutch style’ segregated routes and secure cycle parking facilities.

All of this
(and more) would be funded by reversing the Tory/Lib Dem proposed £2.8m
preparing reports on dualling a small part of the ring road. The Greens would
also commission a study to assess realistic options for tram/light rail routes
to support the proposed additional 15,000 houses being proposed in the Local
Plan, largely for rural areas poorly served by public transport.

An extra
£450,000 would be allocated to gully cleaning and clearing the backlog of
blocked highway drains and a Local Shopping Parades Fund would be made
available to help regenerate run-down local shopping areas.

Green group
leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne said “Our proposals are costed and approved by
Treasury staff and are a clear indication of how we could be moving forwards
far more quickly on tackling climate change while creating a better quality of
life for residents of all ages. Green councillors have the vision we need to
build a better future in a sustainable way.”

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