In the second of a series of columns from York’s four main political parties, Cllr Janet Looker, Labour group leader, looks ahead to the local elections on May 2.

This election presents a stark choice for York voters who must decide what sort of city they want to live in over the coming years.

The last four years have seen a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition preside over declining service standards that residents really notice. Street cleaning has been cut and graffiti removal takes longer. Road surfaces have significantly deteriorated with the number of unfit residential roads jumping from just 7 per cent in 2015 to 21 per cent last year. A staggering 25 per cent of the road and footpath network now requires repair. Labour commits to an extra £1m a year to help reverse this decline.

Under this coalition fly tipping reports are up, recycling rates have stagnated and missed black bin collections have become more common. Bus subsidies have been cut, while cycling and bus journeys are down. Sustainable transport has not been a priority.

York’s young people have the highest admissions to hospital for self harm in the region - 50 per cent above the national average. Diagnosed anxiety and depression rates are rising - as are neuro-developmental conditions such as autism - yet mental health support services are often difficult to access and thresholds too high.

This Conservative-Lib Dem coalition has run the council without a coherent plan on jobs or growing the economy and the result is a city centre struggling, a widening gender pay gap and a real terms pay cut of £65 per person per week – the worst wages drop in the whole country last year.

This is a big problem. York is rightly an enormously popular place to live but average wages are low. Many York residents, especially young people, struggle to afford a home. The absence of any plan to boost the local economy, combined with efforts to suppress the numbers of new homes, means York has become ever more unaffordable due to the coalition’s political decisions.

Yet the health of the city’s economy is vital not just to businesses but to the council’s ability to fund those important services like libraries, road repairs and street cleaning that residents value. With government grants slashed we rely heavily on business rates income. If businesses do well, the city does well. Recognising that link between a flourishing local economy and decent local services is essential. That’s why Labour will drive significant investment in the local economy.

And what about a city people can be proud of not just because it’s a great city, but because the council reflects residents’ pride in how it delivers services?

We‘ll seek to double the delivery of affordable homes, build more housing at a ‘living rent’ and agree a long term home building programme. Labour will do everything we can to end rough sleeping within four years and we’ll put the emotional health and wellbeing of our children and young people at the heart of everything we do.

York recently declared a climate emergency. If this is to mean anything we must work together to reduce the carbon output of our city. A Labour council will consult and work collaboratively with residents and its partners to address this and all the city’s major challenges.

Labour’s vision is a city where people can get around efficiently, breathing clean air, and where everyone has accessible green space near to where they live. A place where decent jobs are available, where families flourish and where someone’s home doesn’t cost them well over a third of their monthly household income.

The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition running the council have run out of energy and ideas. We’re raring to go!