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.
The City of York Council has confirmed that building work has now begun on the first stage of development to meet Labour's plan for at least 50 new council houses by mid-2015.
Labour councillors have proposed a £7 million project to deliver 50 to 70 new council homes across six different sites in order to begin to meet some of the need for homes that local residents can afford.
The first development at Beckfield Lane is part-funded by grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). A total 27 new homes – nine two-bedroomed apartments and 18 houses – will be built on the site, of which nine houses will be for sale on the open market.
The nine apartments are intended for council and housing association tenants currently under-occupying larger family houses in the city, and will replicate similar successful downsizing schemes such as those at Tangle Tree Court, Pately Place and Birch Park.
Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing said:
“This very welcome grant, together with sales income from the nine homes to be sold on the open market, will allow the council to maximise its resources and potentially increase the number of new council homes it is able to build in future phases. I’m delighted we can progress on this site, providing much-needed homes and adding to the local community with this mixed tenure development.”
The Conservative Lib Dem government has cut funding for affordable housing by 60% since the General Election. The number of affordable homes built across the country is down by 30%.