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Lib Dems unveil plans for council budget
A SHAKE-UP of the way York’s libraries are run and cuts to adult social care would be axed under budget plans unveiled by one of the city’s political parties.
City of York Council’s Liberal Democrat group has proposed reintroducing support from the authority’s community care service for residents with “moderate” needs, including help with shopping, bathing and preparing meals, after it was downgraded last summer to save £390,000 a year.
The Lib Dem proposals, which will form part of debate on the council’s budget for the next two years, include scrapping plans to save £250,000 during 2013/14 and 2014/15 on changes to the control of York’s libraries through a “social enterprise” model, claiming this will lead to job cuts and a poorer service.
The group would also rule out the possibility of residents being charged for garden waste collections and reverse cuts to litter and salt bins, gully-cleaning and ward committee funding made by the Labour administration.
They would accept a Government grant to freeze 2013/14 council tax – with Labour having proposed rejecting it and raising bills by 1.9 per cent – spend an extra £500,000 on road repairs and £50,000 on a carbon management programme, and axe a fund allowing amounts of up to £100,000 to be spent on projects agreed by council leader Coun James Alexander and a senior official, which is due to receive £1 million next year.
The Lib Dems said their expenditure plans would also be funded by reducing allowances for cabinet members, lowering a planned increase in the council’s cash reserves by £400,000 next year, bringing forward funding cuts to York’s Quality Bus Contract and dropping city-centre schemes such as the Arts Barge project.
Lib Dem leader Coun Carol Runciman said: “These proposals show there is a positive and affordable alternative to Labour’s continued mismanagement and hotchpotch of council tax rises, reckless borrowing to fund extravagant city-centre spending and cuts to frontline services.
“Our budget proposal would reverse damaging cuts to libraries, litter bins, roads and adult social care, rebalance spending across York and give money back to communities to spend on local priorities.”
Coun Ann Reid, the group’s transport spokeswoman, said the additional £500,000 of spending on roads would help turn around the “decline” in their condition, after officials admitted last month the volume of work had forced quick-fix repairs.