Government bails out York transport again as chaos hits bus services.

The Coalition government has announced the third big slice of funding for York’s ailing transport system in less than a year. Hard on the heels of a £20 million grant for 2 new park and ride sites, plus around £4 million for a sustainable transport initiative, the government has agreed to put £2.9 million into improving public transport systems. These are huge sums of money at a time when the economy is still weak and the Council needs to ensure that the investment is prudently managed and that residents are fully consulted about the proposed use of the funds.

The move means that York can now expect to get the cashless “smartcard” payment system that was trialled in South Yorkshire 3 years ago. We have no doubt that – everything else being equal – the convenience of this system would boost bus usage in the City.

What is markedly less convincing is the Councils intention to borrow £1.6 million which it will spend smartening up City Centre bus stops. The taxpayer simply can’t afford this kind of expenditure at a time when key public services are being cut. The 56% reduction in highways maintenance, which will be bad news for pedestrians and cyclists, has still not been adequately justified by the Council leadership.

Residents are also angry about the way that road works on Blossom Street have increased some bus journey times by as much as 1 hour. As usual the Council – and particularly the lethargic Labour Councillors representing affected wards – failed to manage this contract effectively and with minimal disruption.

News that the 20 conductors – who were used on the number 4 bus service – have now been sacked by First means that this service will be subject to further delays as drivers struggle to issue tickets on what is the busiest route on the York bus network. Services should have been left as they were until the smartcard had been introduced and a modern, low emission, bus procured for use on the route.

2000 sign Beckfield Lane recycling centre petition

2000 residents have now signed the petition aimed at saving the Beckfield Lane recycling centre from closure.

It will be handed in to the Council next Thursday at 6:30pm. The meeting – which is taking place at the Guildhall – will be open to the public.

Two Councillors have put down a notice of motion for debate. The motion reads:

Council notes the significant improvement in the proportion of waste that has been recycled under the previous Liberal Democrat administration, from 12% in 2003 to 45% in 2011.
Council supports the principle that waste collection and recycling should be convenient and fair to residents across the city. In light of the fact that the Budget 2012/13 has deleted the provision of a Recycling and Reuse Centre in the west of the city, Council requests that the Cabinet halts the closure plan for Beckfield Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre.
Council also supports the principle of the provision of a free receptacle for the collection of waste to all residents across the city requests that the provision of free black bin bags should continue to all areas of the city where wheeled bins are not in use. Proposed by Councillor Reid Seconded by Councillor Firth

Residents are still able to sign the “on line” version of the petition at

Window posters and car stickers are now available

Free loft and cavity wall insulation offer extended

The offer for York residents to apply for carbon cutting and money-saving free loft insulation and free cavity wall insulation has been extended.

Called Wrapping up York, this popular scheme has secured additional funding from City of York Council partners the Yorkshire Energy Partnership.

Now, more people who would like their loft insulation topped up, or their cavity walls filled with insulation can call a new, local helpline 01904 55 44 06. Besides calling and arranging for their home to be surveyed, they can also ask for information to keep their homes warmer and get information on local carbon-cutting schemes.

Since December 2011, Wrapping up York has already helped nearly 450 residents save over 10,000 life time tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

York residents can claim their FREE loft and cavity insulation by calling Yorkshire Energy Partnership on 01904 55 44 06 quoting Wrapping up York.


As part of the Budget, the Chancellor has announced that from next year, the Income Tax threshold will be raised further, ensuring that no one pays any income tax on the first £9,205 they earn.

In York, that means 6,830 people will be lifted out of paying Income Tax all together and 76,900 will receive a £220 tax cut. This is on top of tax cuts of £200 last year and a further £130 next month.

Commenting, Dringhouses Ward Liberal Democrat Councillor Ann Reid said “The Chancellor has done the right thing in listening to Liberal Democrat calls for the Income Tax threshold to be raised further.

“As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see a fairer tax system where help is provided for those who need it most and where the richest pay their fair share.

“Raising the Income Tax threshold to £9205 will help working people on average incomes in York who have been struggling with bills and higher cost of living.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said “Liberal Democrats have been clear in our priorities for the Budget. We wanted to see a Budget for the millions, not the millionaires.

“The Coalition Government inherited an unfair tax system from Labour, who in their 13 years hit ordinary working families hardest by abolishing the 10p tax rate while letting tycoons get away with shameless tax avoidance.

“Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are doing the right thing to clear up the mess Labour left behind, making sure the wealthiest pay their fair share by clamping down on tax avoidance, introducing a ‘tycoon tax’ and putting an end to stamp duty dodging by the super rich.

“Raising the Income Tax threshold is a key Liberal Democrat commitment that the Coalition Government is implementing. The announcement in the Budget will mean almost 2m people will be taken out of paying Income Tax all together in the UK and give nearly 25m people a £220 tax cut.”


1. The Budget includes a number of measures to make the rich pay their fair share. These include a Tycoon Tax to cap tax breaks the wealthy can use; raising the rate of stamp duty to 7% for being who buy £2m mansions; and closing loopholes that allow people to buy houses in company names to avoid Stamp Duty when the property is sold.

2. When the Coalition came to power in 2010 the Personal Tax Allowance was £6,475. Increasing it to £10,000 will mean £700 back in the pockets of working people, or approximately £60 a month.

For the many, not the few- A budget for the millions not millionaires

A £3.5bn tax cut for working people
• Biggest single ever uplift in the tax threshold
• 21 million working people getting an extra £220 tax cut
• Tycoon Tax raises FIVE times as much from the super-rich
The Liberal Democrats have ensured this is a budget for the millions not for the millionaires, delivering a £3.5billion tax cut to average working people.

That’s why the biggest move in this Budget is a tax cut for ordinary workers, going further and faster towards the Liberal Democrat goal of making the first ten thousand pounds you earn tax-free. From the front page of our manifesto directly to the pockets of working people.

Thanks to Liberal Democracts, people working full time on the minimum wage, will have seen their income tax bill cut in half.

We have delivered on Nick Clegg’s pledge to go further and faster on the personal tax allowance. This means that 21m basic rate taxpayers will get an extra £220 cut in their income tax bills and a further 840,000 people will be taken out of paying income tax altogether.
• This Budget brings the personal allowance to £9,205 in April 2013
• This Budget brings the total tax cut for basic rate tax payers to £550.
• This Budget brings the total number of people lifted out of tax to 2 million.

Lib Dem Top Ten
1. Biggest ever uplift in the tax threshold to £9,205
2. 21 million working people getting an extra £220 tax cut
3. Tycoon Tax raises FIVE times as much from the super-rich
4. Cutting corporation tax to help British business
5. Stamp duty increased to 7% for multi-million pound homes
6. Lib Dem tax cuts have saved average working people £550
7. 2 million low paid no longer face income tax
8. New 15% tax on companies buying property over £2m
9. Child benefit protected for middle-class families
10. Getting more money from the banks to loan more to British businesses

No parking at Bootham Row on Friday evening

City of York Council is to carry out essential carriageway resurfacing works to part of Bootham Row.

Preparation works started on Monday 19 March, and are taking place between 8am and 4pm.

Resurfacing works are due to take place on Friday 23 March and will be carried out between the hours of 7pm and 11pm. In order to carry out these works safely a temporary road closure of Bootham Row will be necessary during these working hours on Friday.

The road closure will be supervised to inform residents of access availability. Please be aware that whilst the resurfacing works are ongoing there will be no vehicular access to or egress from to Bootham Row, this is for safety reasons.

Beckfield Lane petition fourth largest “on line” ever and growing

click to enlarge

The petition has also attracted 148 supporters on the Councils web site. It is now the fourth largest petition submited this way and it still has until 11th April to gather more support.

Use this address to “sign” the petition electronically

A petition seeking to Save the Burnholme College is also attracting a lot of support

Labour Councillor to boost “Save Beckfield Lane recycling centre” campaign?

Brian Watson leaves the recycling centre on Sunday

With over 1000 signatures now obtained on the petition, under the terms of the Council’s constitution a full debate on the future of the recycling centre is assured.

One user on Sunday was veteran Labour Councillor Brian Watson who wheeled his barrow into the centre from his nearby home.

In 2004 Coun Watson said the site could be expanded into council-owned land directly behind it.

He said:
“The site has been there for years and that’s where people go.

“If they move it somewhere else people aren’t going to go. We are going to go back to the old fly-tipping.

“This is an amenity for Acomb.”

He was commenting on the plan at the time to provide a new centre at Harewood Whin on the Wetherby Road which is about ½ mile from the existing site.

He is no doubt now wondering how long it will take him to push his wheel-barrow 4 miles to the Hazel Court facility which is now being promoted by his college Cllr Williams as an alternative.

Lock it or lose it warn police

North Yorkshire Police have re-issued a warning to residents to lock their doors, windows and cars.

Police Jacket close up

The warning comes following a spate of overnight house burglaries and thefts from cars including four from insecure property and outbuildings.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Smith of North Yorkshire Police, said: “As the spring weather approaches and more people are out and about, please remember to take basic security measures such as locking your doors, windows and outbuildings – even while you are at home. Thieves are opportunist and will be on the look out for insecure doors and windows and will take the first opportunity your give them.

“Don’t hand your belongings to thieves on a plate, remember not to leave your keys, bags and other valuables on display and in easy to reach places. Hide them where they can’t be seen by prying eyes.

“Also remember to remove all your valuables and tools from your vehicles.”

“The effects of burglary should not be underestimated,” added DCI Smith: “The targeting of your home, followed closely by the theft or damage of personal possessions, often has devastating and lasting effect on the homeowners, their family, and the local community.”

Incidents over the last 24 hours include:

  • Insecure outbuilding entered in the Tockwith where thieves stole a portable generator and tools.
  • An insecure rear door was used to enter a house in King Edwards Drive, Harrogate, where burglars took the keys and stole the owner’s car parked outside.
  • As unlocked BMW was entered in Hookstone Close, Harrogate and a Blackberry phone and loose change were taken.
  • Tools were stolen from a house in York when thieves used a ladder to gain access through a landing window, which was believed to have been left open while the house was under renovation.
  • Two burglaries were reported in Scarborough, during one, thieves forced open a window and stole a TV, in the other, they smashed a window and stole a TV and games console.

DCI Smith added: “Use the following check list to ensure you take the most basic security measures.”

· Lock doors, windows garages, sheds and gates – even when you are at home

· Hide your keys away at night where thieves cannot see them or easily find them

· Don’t tempt thieves by leaving valuables on view through windows, letterboxes or cat-flaps.

· Always lock your car and remove valuables

· Keep your car in the garage if you have one. If thieves can’t see your car – they can’t steal it.

· Fit a car alarm or tracking device if finances allow and remember to use them

· Don’t leave garden implements or tools outside as thieves can use these to gain entry to your property

· Leave a light and radio on when you go out at night

More detailed advice can be found on the North Yorkshire Police website

Since the beginning of 2012, North Yorkshire Police have made more than 140 arrests in connection with burglaries.