COUNCIL chiefs are to invest tens of thousands of pounds on new CCTV systems, to help combat crime and antisocial behaviour in York.

A total of £40,000 is to be spent on the project, which will target suburban areas of the city.

The money has become available to City of York Council through the recent increases in interest rates.

The proposal was made at a meeting of the council's ruling Liberal Democrat executive yesterday, when it agreed its budget proposals for 2007/08.

Council leader Steve Galloway said: "We will look at extending CCTV to suburban areas which are particularly vulnerable to antisocial behaviour, and we will allocate £40,000 to get that particular proposal kicked off.

"In the long-term, we will also look at modernising city-centre CCTV cameras, taking advantage of modern technology."

Aside from the CCTV proposal, there were few changes to the draft proposals, as reported in The Press last week, although a suggested cutback on the "messenger" internal postal service within the council was removed, following union concerns.

Coun Galloway said: "I do feel now that the council does have a much stronger financial base position, despite the fact that we still get an unfair deal from central Government, and despite the fact that the grant that they accept we are entitled to have is still being phased in."

He said: "At the end of the day, what matters to people is whether they get value for money." He believed people in York did. The council's director of resources Simon Wiles told councillors: "It has been quite a tight year to put the budget together. There has been quite a lot of work done at member and officer level and I would thank people for that."

As The Press reported last week, the budget proposals include the loss of 35 jobs, but - due to existing vacancies - only about 19 staff.

It is also proposed to increase the cost of cremations by an inflation-busting 8.3 per cent - taking the cost from £495 to £536.

An extra £2 million is being directed to social care, to help fund rising demand for care in the city. The budget will be debated by the full council on February 21.