LABOUR councillors have welcomed the decision by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick not to abolish City of York Council - but warn that the way the city is governed must improve.

Reacting to the decision this evening, Labour group leader Cllr Pete Kilbane said: “Whatever the ills of this council and the way it has been run in recent years, having decisions affecting York residents made in York makes it more democratically accountable.

“We don’t know what factored into the Government’s thinking but it may be that it went with the simplest option and the one that represented the least upheaval.

“We think this is the right decision for residents, but things have to change. We know the absence of a local development plan for York since the 1950s has pushed Minsters’ patience to the limit. Add to that the fact that York council is the only local authority nationally to receive two public interest reports, issued only in instances of serious governance failings, then the ruling Lib Dem council has got away with it by the skin of their teeth.

“As a council York must improve. It is poorly funded but that isn’t an excuse to operate in the way it does, failing to deliver basic services. This decision is an opportunity for a reset, and to kick-start a more constructive approach to investment and services.”