York Green Party

Greens' response to Council budget proposals

6 February 2012

York Green Party has welcomed some aspects of the Council's budget proposals, but says that Labour has still got some of its priorities wrong.

Green Group leader, Cllr Andy D'Agorne says, "We support Labour's decision, following the lead of the Green administration in Brighton, to refuse the Government council tax bribe and propose a two-year budget with a below-inflation increase in council tax. This will prevent council tax hikes in future years and help to protect services."

Cllr D'Agorne places the blame for cuts in jobs and services primarily with the Government, saying, "The level of cuts being forced on the city by the Tory/Lib Dem government means our council can't avoid extremely damaging service reductions. Labour can't pretend that this budget manages to protect all the services that people need. This is a budget which involves 100 job losses and continues to implement the Tory agenda of privatising council services, with libraries and cycle training being added to the list for possible 'out-sourcing', along with leisure centres, community education, arts & music services, aspects of waste services and highways, and care services. The Greens don't accept claims in the budget papers that reductions of hundreds of thousands of pounds will somehow lead to better services."

Cllr Dave Taylor added, "We are concerned that Labour's proposals do not 'protect the most vulnerable in society' as the Council Leader has claimed. Preventing cuts to mental health services (ACES01), reductions in support for helping homeless people off the streets (CANS92), alcohol treatment services (ACES44), debt advice (CANS93), and voluntary sector grants (CANS 54/60) should surely be council priorities in the current circumstances. The potential loss of 'Future Prospects' services which helps people find new jobs (CST32) seems bizarre and tragic when the council is jettisoning so many of its own employees."

Cllr D'Agorne has also questioned Labour's creation of a new £1 million fund, saying, "We are even more concerned to see that whilst making these cuts Labour has allocated £1M for a 'Delivery and Innovation Fund' with spending decisions under £100,000 to be decided by the Council Leader in conjunction with only one Chief Officer. While we face such massive cuts overall, this will be seen as an unaccountable personal fund set aside to promote James Alexander's pet projects. We would prefer to see Labour make a transparent decision at Budget Council as to how these funds will be spent to mitigate unnecessary cuts."

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