Last week, a neighbour grumbled to me: “It sometimes feels the government has a grudge against York.”

Of course, the politicians ruling over us would dismiss such a notion as absurd. Likewise their representatives in coalition with the Lib Dems who run City of York Council. Even so, the government has made some extraordinarily bad decisions for our city of late. Decisions which will impact the lives of ordinary people for generations to come.

Take Bootham Park Hospital. Last week it was announced this historic seven-hectare site in the very heart of the city is to be sold off to the highest bidder. The Department of Health and Social Care justified the move by saying it would "release cash for reinvestment into NHS services".

To many citizens of York, this casual fire sale is actually a cause for deep distress and outrage. Let’s be clear, Bootham Park Hospital is a national treasure, blessed with stunning architecture and interior features. The land was given to the people of the city for the public good in perpetuity.

It may well be the case that the building is no longer suitable for its original purpose as a mental health facility. However, with even a tiny amount of vision the site could have been re-imagined to provide crucial respite, palliative and other care to support the neighbouring District Hospital. Other proposals include using part of the building to house essential health workers and turning the grounds into a wonderful city centre park for families. Personally, I have argued in these pages that room could have been found to create a National Museum of Mental Health.

Instead, this publicly-owned gem will most likely suffer one of two fates. Either it will be turned into luxury flats, far beyond the reach of most local people, or into a luxury hotel for well-heeled visitors. Either way, we can be certain whichever hedge fund or company that buys Bootham Park Hospital will make a whopping profit at our expense.

As for the argument the sale is needed to generate funds, it is bunkum. The only reason the NHS is short of money is because the government is deliberately underfunding this crucial lifeline we all depend upon. Their motives are not hard to see. Year by year the NHS is being privatised. Transferring taxpayers’ money to private health providers who pay little tax themselves is a very nice earner indeed.

Nor should we forget that the union, Unite, recently released a list of 70 MPs with proven links to private healthcare, all of whom voted in favour of the recent Health & Social Care Act, legislation that sped up privatising swathes of the NHS. A key element of that asset-stripping scheme is to sell off as much of the NHS estate as they can manage.

So is my neighbour right? Do the government have a grudge against York? After all, look at recent decisions ministers have made concerning our city, ones that often fly in the face of vocal public opinion. The Bootham Park sell off, for example, generated an 8000-plus petition.

How about the sale of our historic Lendal Post Office, again a victim of asset-stripping privatisation? The government prefers subsidising the shareholders of WH Smith by giving them a lucrative franchise to a top notch local service. Or the plan to close Fulford Barracks, which will cost the city 1,400 jobs according to estimates, adversely affecting the local economy. What about the analysis of government statistics showing secondary schools in the City of York Council area will get an average of only £4,700 per pupil in 2018-19? This is among the lowest in the whole country.

For all that, I believe my neighbour’s suggestion the government has a grudge against York is wrong. In fact, recent evidence suggests they are simply indifferent to the real needs of ordinary people in our city. Their overriding concern seems to be ensuring that as large a percentage as possible of our country’s wealth ends up with the already wealthy, the group they energetically represent. That is the true context of the Bootham Park scandal. That and something all too familiar in austerity Britain: unregulated greed.