Issued by City of York Council
City of York Council’s Cabinet is being asked to consider the council’s performance against the Council Plan priorities and in-year budget, in the period 1 October 2012 to 31 December 2013, at a meeting on Tuesday 12 February 2013.
The council has achieved strong performance against its key priorities to:
- create jobs and grow the economy
- get York moving
- build strong communities
- protect vulnerable people, and
- protect the environment
despite a particularly challenging financial year.
York’s economy continues to perform well against the regional and national picture with stronger than average employment and wage levels. The city, recently ranked amongst the top five cities for business investment Local Futures 2012, has seen business growth and survival rate improvements year on year, which are better than both regional and national averages.
York is also ranked third out of 64 cities rated by Centre for Cities (2012) for its workforce skills. This reflects the city’s position as a national leader in education provision in again achieving excellent results at A-levels and GCSE’s this year. The city’s unemployment rates have also reduced further with less than half the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance than the national average.
Whilst housing continues to be a challenge for York, the recent launch of the Get York Building programme is progressing key development sites across York and housing completions for 2012/13 are expected to be approximately 450 by April 2013. The council has also delivered on clear proposals for the expansion of the city’s Park & Ride, a key element of the Access York programme.
The council continues to work within the Leeds City Region (LCR) and as an associate member of the Association of West Yorkshire Authorities (AWYA), to ensure York has both regional and national influence and connectivity. The authority gained Super Connected City status to expand the reach of broadband and wifi across York and played a key part in the Leeds/ Bradford to Heathrow flight routes being reinstated. More recently York has led an East Coast Mainline Group of Local Authorities to lobby government for investment across the line and to ensure the city benefits from the planned HS2 programme.
Through partnership working, the city saw a 10 per cent reduction in crime in 2011/12 and significant progress was made towards ensuring an equal, inclusive and welcoming council and city with the launch of the A Fairer York vision. This included successes such as a key investment into provision for Gypsy and Traveller’s in the city from the Homes and Communities Agency, commissioning England’s first Recovery College to support people overcoming alcohol and substance abuse and successfully secured funding from Government to provide heating systems and insulation in the homes of the city’s most vulnerable.
The report outlines current and expected future challenges for the council such as; changes to the welfare benefit system coming into place in April 2013 and creating an increased demand for support, particularly with debt advice; increased demand for adult care services, as the city sees an a rise in the over 85’s of 30 per cent; continued pressure to improve services such as education and social care in the face of rising demand; and additional responsibilities in moving towards managing the public health agenda, through the delivery of the city’s new health and wellbeing strategy.
Ian Floyd, Director of Customer & Business Support Services, comments: “Along with other local authorities, York has experienced significant reductions in our Government grant, alongside increased cost pressures in essential services. Despite this challenging financial climate, we have worked to ensure that the financial pressures we currently face are mitigated in order to end the financial year with a balanced budget and maximised funding for schemes and initiatives which have benefitted the city and its residents”.
Cllr Julie Gunnell, cabinet member for Corporate Services for City of York Council adds:“Despite further budget cuts, there have been significant achievements across the council in 2012. Our economy remains one of the most stable in the region, our workforce is in the top three most skilled cities in the north, our unemployment levels remain below regional and national levels, our children are attaining excellent results at A-levels and GCSE’s, and we are still one of the safest cities in the UK.”
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