YORK’S Conservatives would freeze council tax and keep free parking passes for residents through their budget plans, they have said.

City of York Council’s 2014/15 budget will be debated next Thursday, and the Tories want to accept a £778,000 Government grant allowing the tax to be frozen.

The ruling Labour group has proposed raising it by 1.9 per cent, saying taking the alternative would mean £590,000 of extra cuts.

Conservative leader Coun Chris Steward said his party would fund additional salt and litter bins and an extra green bin collection in winter, and put more money into pothole repairs, gulley-cleaning and apprenticeships, and abandon plans to replace free Minster Badges with paid-for permits.

He said £608,000 of uncommitted cash in the council’s Delivery and Innovation Fund would help pay for the proposals, as would using the Government’s New Homes Bonus payments for York, while reducing funding for the Reinvigorate York city-centre facelift project would allow £180,000 extra for services.

Coun Steward said: “Residents and businesses are best served by the council providing good, basic services, rather than vanity projects, and the council should stop interfering and let people spend their own money by accepting the council tax freeze grant.”

Deputy council leader Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing said the Tory budget would cut economic investment and services for vulnerable people, reduce pay in adult social care and support privatisation.