WHAT alarmed me most about Cabinet member Coun Dave Merrett’s statements at the recent local plan working group was his glee that Labour’s policy on new housing development would apply off-site affordable housing financial contributions only to rural areas.

This clearly confirmed the view that York’s Labour group consider all who live in rural areas to be wealthy and worthy of financial penalty. It is an unjust policy and demonstrates that James Alexander and his party do not represent all residents.

Labour’s revised affordable housing policy will fail because it exploits those struggling to get on the housing ladder. However, my immediate concern as we debate the next council budget is that labour has created a second-class citizen – those living in rural or suburban areas.

New rural housing is subject to a Merrett tax of up to circa £20,000, we don’t get our ward-funded salt bins refilled and we will have to pay for green bins. Then there is the proposed Galtres Festival – who in the labour inner-city cabinet cares if residents in far off Rawcliffe have their Bank Holiday weekend ruined?

Coun Joe Watt, Conservative member for Skelton, Rawcliffe & Clifton Without.