Councillors have officially voted through an increase in council tax for residents in York.

At the full council budget meeting on Thursday, February 22,  a majority of councillors voted to increase the basic rate of council tax by two per cent and the adult social care precept by 2.99 per cent.

The North Yorkshire Police Authority precept will increase by 3.99 per cent and the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority precept will increase by 2.99 per cent.

Council-run car parks will go up from £18 to £20 for the day and rents will increase by an average of 7.7 per cent. 

An annual green bin charge of £46.50 was also approved, as well as other service cuts largely to fund adult social care.

A £300,000 reduction in the council’s contractual funding for Explore York libraries and archives in the year starting in April – followed by a further £300,000 cut the following year, was also agreed.

Before the budget was voted through, Cllr Claire Douglas, the leader of the City of York Council, said: “I will not preside over a council that sees itself hurtling towards financial ruin and bankruptcy.” 

The council had previously forecasted an £11.4 million overspend and needs to save £40 million over the next four years.

Cllr Douglas also said: “I won’t play political games with the finances of this city and its people.”

Cllr Nigel Ayre, leader of the main opposition Liberal Democrat group, told the executive “you don’t have to make these cuts”.

He said new government funding of £1.5 million would mean the council now does not have to make cuts to libraries or charge for green waste collection. 

But Labour argued that adult social care would need to be funded beyond the £1.5 million government funding.

The Liberal Democrats also suggested using a £696,000 public health reserve and £500,000 acquisition reserve to fund one-off items, which was heavily criticised by Labour. 

Cllr Chris Steward, the Conservative group leader, praised the council leader but also suggested reversing the green waste charge, while removing the council’s communications team, as well as assistant director posts and political assistant posts. 

Neither the Liberal Democrat nor the Conservative amendments to the budget were carried. 

The City of York Council’s budget for 2024/25 is approximately £150 million, but it has now saved around £14 million – £4 million of which in adult and children’s social care. 

Labour has blamed inadequate government funding and the exhaustion of reserves by previous administrations for the cuts.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies released data last year showing that £3,642 is spent per person in York on all public services, 15.5 per cent below the national average of £4,310 and the lowest out of all 150 local authorities in England.