York Green Party

Greens pledge to protect services and the environment under Lib/Con coalition

22 May 2015

Despite disappointment that proposals for either a 'rainbow coalition' or power-sharing arrangement with Labour and the Lib Dems were rejected, York Green party says it will do all it can over the next four years to ensure policy decisions will benefit all York residents.

After a week of talks, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition to run York Council with Chris Steward, leader of the Conservatives, as Council leader, and his Lib Dem equivalent Keith Aspden as deputy council leader.

Following consultation with local party members, the four Green councillors had backed negotiations to form a joint administration with Labour and Lib Dem councillors in exchange for protecting Green budget proposals and a change from a Cabinet to a more inclusive committee system. Labour were reluctant to agree to the committee system, saying they would want a referendum on the issue and the freedom to campaign against it.

The deal means that Labour and Greens will now be in opposition, even though Labour emerged with one more councillor than the Conservatives. Green councillors will still have influential positions on some committees:

  • Cllr Lars Kramm will sit on the Audit & Governance Committee and the Corporate and Scrutiny Management Committee, where he will work hard to make the new administration keep their election promise for more transparency
  • Cllr Denise Craghill will sit on the Health and Social Care committee as well as the Area Planning Sub-committee.
  • Cllr D'Agorne will keep his seats on the Planning Committee and Local Plan Working Group, and become the Vice Chair of the Economic and City Development Committee, where he will be able to push for greener transport and planning measures.
  • Cllr Dave Taylor continue to sit on the Gambling and Licensing Committee and Joint Standards Committee, as well as becoming the chair of the Learning and Culture Committee where he will champion access to heritage and the arts.

Green group leader Andy D'Agorne said "It's a real shame that, given the difficult finances the authority is going to face over the next few years, Labour and the Conservatives have not been prepared to work together."

The Lib Dem and Conservative administration has said that it is committed to more open government and cross party working, with major decisions subject to cross party scrutiny before being approved by an executive.

Cllr D'Agorne said the Green group will work with the new coalition whenever appropriate. "We will examine the proposed policies on a case-by-case basis, and will lend our support to some of them, such as the re-instatement and re-funding of ward committees, the retention of Yearsley Pool and the protection of Green Belt from development. This will be an interesting and challenging few years for York, and the Greens are committed to act co-operatively for the common good - not just as a strong voice for the city-centre residents who elected us but for the whole city."

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