Opposition councillors have accused York’s leaders of blocking funding to help neurodivergent people and those struggling with their mental health.
But the Labour administration has hit back and said the spending commitment was “reckless”.
The Liberal Democrat group accused Labour of blocking attempts to commit the administration to fund the £100,000 originally budgeted for mental health and autism support in the February budget.
That was when the Lib Dems were still in power before the May election.
The group’s health spokesperson Cllr Carol Runciman said at last week’s full council meeting: “The Liberal Democrats as an administration took the important decision in February to include in their budget £100k for support for neurodivergent people and those suffering with poor mental health.
“So, it was concerning to us to see in September that the administration took away this funding leaving it unclear if we will see this money spent.”
Lib Dem leader Cllr Nigel Ayre said after the meeting: “Labour members incorrectly claimed that the original funding was allocated from borrowing.
“Aside from the £1 million public health reserve, the council is also sitting on a multi-million pound ‘venture’”’ fund that they could have chosen to use.
“The decision the Labour Party made at full council was a political choice based on ideology. The money to protect the most vulnerable residents in York is there to be used.
“Liberal Democrats will continue our campaign to make the administration take mental health and autism support seriously.”
In response, the executive member for health Cllr Jo Coles said: “Labour councillors actually brought motions on mental health and autism to last week’s council meeting, reflecting how important these issues are to Labour.
“These motions included a number of proposals aimed at improving the lives of residents with autism and residents experiencing poor mental health.
“In contrast, Liberal Democrats’ proposal was a one-off pre-election move which, were it genuine, would have been a permanent budgetary commitment.
“The reality is the old Liberal Democrat administration failed to manage the council’s finances and failed to ever consider more than one year ahead.
“In opposition, they continue to promote the same type of reckless approach. We have to get the council back on a sound financial footing and that involves not spending money the council hasn’t got”.