York is facing “the most austere budget in the council’s history”, said the opposition Liberal Democrat leader today (Wednesday).
Cllr Nigel Ayre said Labour’s plans, which would see nearly 10% cut from the budget for 2024-25, amounted to a “slash and burn budget” with “cuts set to hit hardest the least well-off”.
The Labour administration, led by Cllr Claire Douglas, says it has to make the savings to “ensure the council stays afloat” following “years of central government funding cuts, combined with the depletion of council reserves”.
In his response to the proposed 2024-25 budget, to be presented to the executive meeting on Thursday, 25 January, Cllr Ayre said:
Councillor Nigel Ayre, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said:
“We finally have confirmation that the Labour council bosses are going ahead with their deeply unpopular green bin tax on residents without any public consultation.
“Over the past six months since this was first floated, residents have made their voices heard against this tax rise.”
He said more than 2,000 York residents signed the Lib Dem petition to stop the £46.50 green bin collection charges which “would hit those on low incomes the hardest”.
“We have also had confirmation of another broken election promise from Labour – a council tax hike, Cllr Ayre said.
“Before the election, Cllr Douglas stated in Labour leaflets that ‘York needs a Labour-run council to freeze your council tax’.
“Just a few short months later, she has broken that promise. Residents will be asking if there is anything Labour wouldn’t have said if they had thought it would help them gain votes?
“They are also relying on increased parking income at the same time as they plan to close car parks and reduce car use by 20% which are two directly contradictory policies and is indicative of the disjointed approach Labour have taken to this budget.”
He added: “Labour’s slash and burn budget is set to be the most austere budget in the council’s history.
“There has been almost no public consultation on the budget proposals, and we will be looking for evidence of an Equalities Impact Assessment having been undertaken for each of the proposed savings.
“Residents should be in no doubt that this is a political choice to remove as many services from residents as possible now so that they can blame the Conservative government ahead of the General Election.”