York's Conservative Group has today submitted its amendment to the 2021/22 Lib Dem / Green City of York Council budget. The Lib Dem budget is once again done at odds with its own supposed survey of York residents, which is perhaps unsurprising given many residents had yet to receive the survey asking for their views when the Lib Dems put out a press release of their plans. The survey showed a clear view that council tax increases should not happen or be limited and yet the Lib Dems are again hiking council tax by the maximum legally allowed without a referendum.
Times have of course been very tough for all under the pandemic and now more than ever council tax should be kept low. However the Lib Dems always aim to get as much of your money as possible as they think they can spend it better than you, but we realise how difficult life has been for residents and our amendment would see you pay less to the council. The government has given City of York Council more than £20 million in pandemic support and a near £7 million annual funding boost but Lib Dem inefficiency and mismanagement of areas like the Community Stadium and Waste Management mean again the council is looking to hit residents.
- Limiting the rise in council tax by 0.5%
- Cutting bureaucracy to prioritise the frontline with the removal of party political assistants, the removal of the two Executive Members (and their £17,000 allowances) and a reduction in the communications budget.
- Protecting Adult Social care and looking after the most vulnerable
- A £75,000 fund for improvements in rural travel
- £113,000 Pothole Fund to be divided between wards for councillors to allocate towards pothole repairs within communities that have not been addressed through the main Highways budget.
- Funding for 40 new benches, with many likely to be in shopping areas like Acomb and Haxby. We are also ring fencing £10,000 to improve the condition of existing benches.
- An additional green waste collection, aimed at taking away and recycling Christmas trees.
Although the Lib Dems continue to ignore most of our suggestions they have acted on some. Last year they did not fill the role of Chief Executive, which was a key part of the Conservative 2020/21 budget amendment and we welcome this. Additionally last year our amendment called for savings on more efficient use of West Office and again we are pleased to see the Lib Dems have taken this on board in this year’s budget.
Conservative Group Leader Paul Doughty said:
We would like to have made more changes but whilst we have some help from council staff we are limited to the resources of our councillors’ time for a few weeks whereas the coalition has had all available CYC resources for six months. However our amendment shows our intent, we prioritise the frontline with for example more money for rural travel and pothole repairs at the same time as cutting the cost of politics with the removal of additional allowance the Lib Dems brought in for their own members.
I very much hope all members will vote for our amendment which makes modest improvements to the budget. The key summary is a reduction in office bureaucracy and councillor allowances and more money put into the frontline.