RACHAEL Maskell has accused City of York Council of "lazily" failing to try to save jobs at a York business.

Unipart revealed last month that it was to close its rail parts business on the site of the proposed York Central re-development in Leeman Road, with the loss of 72 jobs to York.

Ms Maskell, the Labour candidate for York Central, said that when she was previously MP, she wrote to the authority to ask what action it had taken previously to safeguard the Unipart jobs.

She said the council replied suggesting Homes England had been in talks with the firm and referring her inquiries to the national agency, and included no detail on any efforts made to save the jobs.

She said: “This letter from the council confirms that they have taken no responsibility, and have done and are doing absolutely nothing to try to save these precious rail jobs. This is completely unforgivable.

“It is also more damning evidence that our council have lazily handed over all responsibility for safeguarding York’s rail industry to the national agencies leading on the York Central development.”

But Neil Ferris, corporate director of economy, said the council and its York Central partners had worked hard with Unipart to make sure it had both alternative premises in York and the money to support its relocation.

He said Homes England had bought the site at full market price, and the deal included full compensation for the costs of moving into a new, "highly appropriate" location at Northminster Business Park.

“We’ve also supported an application for a significant potential grant from Leeds City Region, which was withdrawn just before Unipart announced its decision to relocate elsewhere.”

Conservative Transport spokesman Martin Rowley said it had been flagging up concerns about the Lib Dem-run administration’s working with business on York Central but it was "disappointing" Ms Maskell was "once again trying to score political points rather than working positively for York".