York Green Party

Green budget amendment to reprieve Castlegate Centre & Yearsley Pool

20 February 2015

At next week's Budget Council meeting, York's Green Party councillors will propose an amendment to secure the Castlegate Young People's Service in its current location for at least the next year with the current staffing and secure the future of Yearsley Pool until a business case can be established for its future development.

Cllr. Dave Taylor said, "The Greens played a key role in halting the plans to cut the Castlegate advisor posts and to move the service to the Council HQ from April 2015 - a proposal which provoked widespread opposition from young people and professionals. The Castlegate Service for young people really has to be a priority. For example, research shows1 that for every £1 spent on preventative mental health therapies, £15 is saved in the longer run."

The Green amendment will also include provision to protect the £250k annual council subsidy for the much valued facilities at Yearsley Pool until a business case can be developed to generate more income and maintain the highly valued and unique range of services the pool provides. This would end speculation that the pool might be closed once the leisure facilities in the city are outsourced and the proposed new pool at Monk's Cross opens.

Other key council areas which the Greens intend to protect include Children's Centres, into which they would return £100,000 in frontline staffing and retention of £115,000 funding to support the Council's apprenticeships scheme, which the current budget proposes to remove altogether. They will also save a post threatened in the overstretched design and conservation department, and reverse £50k of additional cuts planned for the outsourced library service.

Green group leader, Andy D'Agorne, said, "Apprenticeships are an excellent way to enable young people to gain skills and enter the jobs market but also address the age profile of the council's workforce. The Council scheme is not only important in its own right but also as a model for other employers in the city, to encourage as many quality apprenticeships as possible."

He added, "The Green Party has consistently opposed the process which has not only placed our library service outside of direct council control but has imposed a series of funding cuts at the same time. Labour's budget line on libraries funding is quite specific that it will involve a reduction in library service levels. Our amendment will reverse that. Protecting frontline services, especially those that support future generations, is good for the whole of York, and it's important, even in times of dwindling council budgets, to search for sensible ways to invest for our future."

Further aspects of the Green amendment are still being finalised as the party seeks to work with other opposition groups or with the Labour Administration to pass a budget for the city in the current situation of no-overall-control on the council.

Notes

  1. Research carried out by Rethink Mental Illness - see the report "Investing in Recovery"






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