Today, the Leader of the City of York Council, Cllr James Alexander, set out Labour's budget plans for the next two years.
Under the Conservative - Liberal Democrat government, the council has been forced to cut £74.3 million from its budget.
The government's cuts, which will increase over the next two years, alongside increasing costs and demand for Adult Social Care in particular, have placed council services under great pressure.
By the end of 2015/16, it is thought that the council will have had to lose over 700 staff.
Even though the council has cut £12 million from its back office costs in order to focus spending on front line services, and management has been cut by 40%, it isn't possible to make cuts on the scale demanded by the government without it having a real impact on services.
Labour's approach means we're investing jobs and delivering the homes that York people need, along with rejecting the government's council tax con. As a result, we're be able to protect about £5 million of expenditure next year.
Labour's budget proposes:
In order to protect vital services in the long term, as demand rises and funding shrinks, we have also announced that we will task a senior member of council staff with re-examining how some services are organised and delivered. In common with the LGA, we now believe that it may be necessary to undertake a basic "rewiring" of essential services to make sure that they provide value for money and that residents can continue to rely on them in the future.
You can read Cllr Alexander's remarks in full by clicking here.
From Spring Bank Holiday on 26th May, residents and visitors will be able to benefit from free car parking in some council car parks between 8am and 11am each Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning.
The scheme will run for an initial period of one year. The offer will apply to the following car parks:
· Bishopthorpe Road car park
· Castle Mills car park
· Foss Bank car park
· Marygate car park
· Monk Bar car park
· Nunnery Lane car park
· St George's Field car park
· Union Terrace car park
The move is an initiative resulting from partnership working over the last six months between the council and City Team York, the city’s retail forum, the Federation of Small Businesses, and key businesses such as Fenwick’s, Browns, Mulberry Hall, M&S, Barnitts, HSBC, John Lewis Partnership, land owners and developers and others interested businesses.
It comes after successful trials on single days in 2013 and will soon be accompanied by a business permit scheme and a trial of ‘Pay on Exit’ car parking at Marygate, also in response to feedback from businesses.
The initiative will be funded from Section 106 monies from the Vanguarde development at Monks Cross, the sale of business parking permits and potentially from sponsorship.
Cllr Merrett said: “The council has been working closely with members of City Team York, the Retail Forum, the Federation of Small Businessesand other key businesses over the last six months, to look at how we might improve car access into the city centre. As part of these discussions the groups have concluded that the city should look at incentivising residents and visitors into the city centre, particularly at the weekend.
“We have listened to business and wider representatives and in discussion with the support of the Vangarde developers it is proposed that the city introduce a ‘8am to 11am’ offer Thursday, Friday and Saturday initially on selected council operated car parks for a one year period”.