YORK’S council leader has hit back at a right-wing lobby group that demonstrated against the city’s proposed council tax rise.

James Alexander says the TaxPayers’ Alliance protest last Friday was poorly supported and says the group has actually cost City of York Council thousands of pounds through its repeated use of the Freedom of Information Act.

He said the group had submitted 49 requests to the council in the past year, costing about £5,200 in administration, which he said equated to four years' council tax for a Band C property.

Coun Alexander said: “What the TaxPayers’ Alliance doesn't tell the public is the overall cost to the taxpayer of their continued FOI requests, to local councils up and down the country. The public supports scrutiny of public spending but not in the scattergun way that the TaxPayers’ Alliance submits FOI requests, which wastes money that could be spent on essential services.”

He said the campaign group failed to grasp the challenges facing councils, said Government cuts had reduced funding to York by £42.58 per resident and said more councils would become unviable because of Government cuts not in the public interest.