Labour’s broken promises

Now that we know what Labour’s budget proposals are for the City over the next couple of years, we compare here their election manifesto promises with their newly revealed plans.

The Liberal Democrat alternative budget will be explained at the York Council meeting later in the month

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Winter weather update: salt bins and road gritting in Dringhouses & Woodthorpe

During the recent cold snap we are all grateful for the hard work of the highways department keeping our roads gritted and refilling salt bins. Despite budget restrictions this year most of York’s primary roads have been kept clear of snow.

An interactive map showing salt bin locations and a schedule of gritting operations can be found at www.york.gov.uk/transport/roads/gritting.

If you know of a salt bin that needs refilling please let one of us know and do take care on the ice!

Labour to reduce number of roads that are gritted

Labour are proposing to reduce the number of streets that are treated with salt. A £10,000 a year budget cut means that fewer areas will see gritters in future, although Labour are not saying which streets will lose the service.

Coming in the wake of a weekend when the existing gritting provision was put under enormous pressure, fears have been raised that the move will lead to more accidents.

The Council also plan to leave salt bins out on the streets for 12 months of the year, prompting fears that they will be vandalised. The bins are normally placed in the Council depot in summer where they are repaired and refurbished.

The new Council budget will allow bins to be filled only 3 times a year in future.

The Council are however finding £500,000 as their share of a £6million plan to extend the Art Gallery

More revealed on where York Council budget cuts will fall

Labour Councillors budget proposals summary. double click to enlarge

A summary of where public services cuts will be made over the next couple of years has been published by the Council. It reveals the split by department.

It admits that £1.87 million in 2012/13 will come from “service cuts” while claiming that another £5.4 million represents “efficiency savings”.

On close examination many of the “efficiencies” are no such thing. Many are cuts in service standards.

Reproduced below is a list of some of them.

We will publish a list of the cuts that the Council is now admitting to shortly.

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Labour budget announcements. Council Tax up 2.9%, parking charges up 18%, Rents up 7.4%. Key services cut

Headline figures

• Council Tax up by 2.9% in April 2012 and at least 2.0% more from April 2013 (£54 pa)

• Council House rents up by 7.4%

• Business rates up by 5.8%

• Water and sewage up by 6.1%

• Car parking charges up between 12% (short stay) and 18% (standard stay) for residents

• 8% cut in grants for voluntary sector

• 200 jobs to go over next 2 years

• Council to borrow £20 million more

• £2.8 million in public service standard cuts over 24 months.

• £5.4M a year in “efficiency” improvements

• Libraries to be outsourced

• More to pay for increased numbers requiring elderly care and for looked after children
.
• £100k for consultants to prepare a “bus contract”

We will be publishing a further analysis over the next few days

Eco cabs needed in York

Renault Fluence

It’s a couple of years now since the York Council agreed to try to reduce the emission levels of public transport vehicles in the City. Top priority was to deal with some types of buses, but taxis and private hire fleets also needed to be modernised.

It a shame that London now seems to be forging ahead of York with this initiative.

For short journeys, electric power is perfectly adequate and better for the environment than even a hybrid. It would be good to see a couple of bays with charging points reserved at the railway station for use by eco cabs. The Council should tender the availability of a couple of licences for a company that was prepared to provide such a option (perhaps in return for a 3 – 5 year contract).

Customers would themselves decide whether to use an eco cab or a conventional taxi.

In the meantime this is what they are doing in London.

“Driving in the city usually isn’t a pleasant experience. Due to the city being the hub for major shopping outlets, businesses, restaurants and etc, traffic tends to be congested and most of the time you end up burning fuel unnecessarily. The good news is if you’re a resident of London, or if you’re planning to take a trip down for the 2012 London Olympics, you might be interested in checking out the Renault Fluence Z.E which will be the city’s first zero-emission cab as part of their plan to go green.

These taxis will be operated by eco cab company ClimateCars who have recently added the Renault Fluence Z.E.s to their fleet. The company has previously offered low carbon/hybrid vehicles in the past, which makes the Fluence Z.E.s the company’s first electric vehicle offering. These cabs will be powered by a 94hp electric motor and will feature a range of 115 miles on a single charge, and to encourage the adoption and usage of electric vehicles, the Renault Fluence Z.E. cab will be charging the same fare as normal cabs in London”.

Learn to play golf

City of York Council has teamed up with Heworth Golf Club to offer coaching lessons for beginners this February.

The courses are an ideal opportunity for anyone who is still trying to get into the swing of 2012 and are looking for a new sport to play.

The courses will be running for five weeks, starting on Saturday 11 February. It will cost £20 per person for all the sessions and this includes an hour of expert tuition from a club professional, as well as equipment hire.

The previous golf sessions have been highly successful, attracting over 100 people who are new to the sport.

Will Saville, Sports Participation Officer at City of York Council, said: “After the success and popularity of the last lot of coaching at Heworth Golf Club, we decided to offer more opportunities for beginners to get into the sport.”

Places are limited to a maximum of eight per course and are for over 16′s only. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
For further information or to book a place members of the public can contact Will Saville or Robin Lavin on 01904 553377.

How to contact a Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament

It is likely to be several weeks before new MEP Rebecca Taylor has set up a new local office.

In the meantime residents are reminded that they can contact our other MEP Edward McMillan-Scott.

He can be Emailed on edward.mcmillan-scott@europarl.europa.eu.

Web Site http://www.emcmillanscott.com/index.html

Office admin telephone number 07730 682677

Nick Clegg with Edward McMillan-Scott

New fitness class launching for people who have a mental illness

City of York Council is launching a new fitness class for people who have a mental illness.

Classes start this Thursday and will take place every week from 12noon to 1pm at York St John University Sports Hall.

The Wellbeing Circuits Classes are aimed at encouraging people to take regular exercise to help them cope better with their illness.

They are the latest addition to the council’s expanding HEAL (Health, Exercise, Activity and Lifestyle) programme which helps people who have medical conditions to exercise.

Exercise may help combat depression and make you feel happier, boost self-esteem, help you concentrate, sleep as well as enable you to look and feel better.

The Wellbeing Classes are designed to be fun and friendly in a supportive environment, giving people the chance to feel better and meet with those who have had similar experiences.

Katie Ellis, Exercise Pathways Officer at city of York Council, said: “Exercise can be a small change that could help make a big difference to your health. It’s important to try and keep active, no matter how hard that can feel in difficult times”.

Classes cost just £3 per session and those interested can simply turn up and take part.

For more information, members of the public can contact Katie Ellis on 01904 553377 or e-mail Katie.ellis@york.gov.uk or visit www.york.gov.uk/heal