IF Sandy Fraser (Letters, January 30) had paid a little more attention in class, he might have got a better grasp of the financial situation in York.

Despite his attacks on my colleagues, the truth is they have presented alternatives to each of Labour’s politically driven budgets since 2011. They have shown the cuts in York are not enforced by the Government, but are about ideological choices taken by the Labour council.

Sandy claims spending on pet projects such as the Arts Barge and King’s Square comes at no cost to front-line services and the revenue account, yet they are funded through Labour leader James Alexander’s £20 million fund. This is borrowed money and borrowing has a cost – a message which Gordon Brown failed to grasp and for which we are all now paying.

In October, Labour’s cabinet member for finance confirmed that in revenue terms the cost of this borrowing was “broadly £0.5m of interest, and £0.5m of debt repayment per annum”. This means that, without the borrowing to fund these city-centre vanity projects, the council would immediately have an extra £1m a year in the revenue account to spend on frontline services, such as fixing potholes.

Coun Ian Cuthbertson, Liberal Democrat, Haxby & Wigginton ward, Earswick Chase, York.


• COUN Sandy Fraser suggests that the opposition are nothing more than a pantomime (Letters, January 31) and blames all cuts on the coalition Government.

Here was another example of Labour councillors passing nasty remarks about the opposition when their own leader is critical of others who do it to him.

I am sure Coun Fraser is nothing like a pantomime character, but perhaps he comes straight out of the pages of the Mr Men books for children. Mr Forgetful would seem appropriate, as it was indeed the last Labour Government who left the cupboard bare and the coalition who have had to correct the mistakes.

Perhaps the council is a bit like Happyland, the fictional home of the Mr Men, and I am sure readers could link councillors to the characters without a lot of effort.

Take your pick from the following Mr Men, Daydream, Foolish, Greedy, Impossible, Lazy, Nonsense, Ridiculous, Rude, Silly, Slow and even Mr Wrong.

Philip E Sunley, Paddock Way, York.


• COUN Sandy Fraser and I agree on few things, but it would be nice if he could accurately reflect my views.

I do wonder if he first wrote his letter saying everything is the Government’s fault three years ago and then merely photocopied it before making a note in his diary to send a copy to The Press every six months.

The Government is cutting the money to the council, but this is necessary due to the chronic overspending of the Government he supported and, although Coun Fraser ignores the fact, the Labour Party said if elected in 2010 it would have made virtually the same cuts.

Unlike Coun Fraser, Conservatives realise that governments and councils have no money of their own. They are responsible for redistributing and providing services from residents’ money.

Nationally, Labour wants endless borrowing and we disagree with our children paying our debts. For the council, borrowing is more difficult which is why choices are needed and that is where Labour’s choices are so wrong.

Coun Chris Steward, Rural West York, Leader, York Conservative Group, City of York Council.