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Labour's candidate Kallum Taylor has become the newest member of City of York Coucil, elected with 50% of the votes cast in the Holgate by-election yesterday.

Speaking shortly after the result was announced, Kallum said:

"Tomorrow the real work begins. For me. For all of us. We have to keep making our voices heard so that more people hear them, and our voices become a shout. A shout of outrage at the way so many people in York are living. No. Not living. Existing. Existing because they’re working two or three jobs just to stay still. Existing because their home is unsuitable or affordable or both. Existing because they have loved ones who can’t get the care or medical attention they need. In a city like York it’s just not right that we have children who are hungry, families who are homeless and – behind closed doors and curtains – people isolated by austerity.

"I’ll not forget speaking to one of our senior citizens on the phone about the holes in Holly Bank Road. He thanked me for calling, said he’d vote for me, and then added that I was the first person he’d spoken to all day. It was 8pm at night. It’s not just our roads here in Holgate which are full of holes, it’s the policies of our council. Short-term, bodge it, patch it up policies with no vision and ambition for our city.

"We deserve better. We deserve much better.

"Now you have put your faith in me, I will take your passion, your energy and your hunger for change into the council chamber. I will work hard to deliver the policies that Holgate and this city deserves.

"Let’s inspire members, supporters and sympathisers across the city and out into the villages to win enough wards to turn York red next year. Only by delivering a Labour controlled council can we transform York into a city of hope and opportunity for the many.

"Tonight is the start of that change. Together we can deliver it."

Labour's Kallum Taylor wins Holgate by-election

Labour's candidate Kallum Taylor has become the newest member of City of York Coucil, elected with 50% of the votes cast in the Holgate by-election yesterday. Speaking shortly after the...

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Plans for a community cafe in Hull Road Park are a step closer following the delivery of temporary portakabins this week.  Their arrival follows two years of work by Hull Road Labour councillors to realise an ambition to increase community activity and provide a focal point for people to come together.

Councillor Hilary Shepherd said ward councillors were keen to see an organisation come forward to run the cafe, once it was fitted out and complete. She comments:

“The power supply has been installed, and Portakabins have landed and in a short period of time we’ll be ready for an operator to come in.  Whilst there is no specific stipulation, we’re expecting a social enterprise or not for profit organisation to run the cafe and hope the progress currently being made will generate some interest.

“We’re keen to hear from prospective operators so they can have a say in how the cafe is fitted out”. 

The plans have seen the existing pavilion in Hull Road Park upgraded, while part of the perimeter fencing has had to be removed to allow access for the Portakabins. New shrubs will be planted on the Alcuin Avenue side of the park once the installation has been completed. The nearby tennis courts have also been resurfaced as part of councillors’ commitment to improving the park.

Anyone interested in operating the cafe can contact Councillor Hilary Shepherd at cllr.hshepherd@york.gov.uk

Hull Road Park café plans begin to take shape

Plans for a community cafe in Hull Road Park are a step closer following the delivery of temporary portakabins this week.  Their arrival follows two years of work by Hull...

The council’s Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition budget for the forthcoming year will ensure children and adult services bear the brunt of the cuts.

Of the £5m of cuts to be agreed, around £3m will come from reducing or removing children’s, adults and public health services.

Labour Group Leader Councillor Janet Looker responded to the Coalition's proposed budget saying:

"All budgets that come forward from this Tory-Lib Dem Coalition appear to prioritise removing services to vulnerable children and adults, which of course is something to which Labour councillors are vehemently opposed. The move towards removing any significant services supporting these people continues, with day services for vulnerable adults taking a major hit in this latest budget. It’s something we’re particularly uncomfortable with and will consider reversing in our budget amendment. It’s foolhardy to think the voluntary sector can endlessly pick up all of these important services and try to run them on a shoestring."

The chaos that has come to characterise the current Coalition administration led to a deal only being struck at the eleventh hour between the two parties on council tax, with Liberal Democrats finally agreeing to support their Tory colleagues in cutting valued public services earlier this week.

Councillor Looker also said there was a lack of honesty in what was happening with the budget, with new spending in adult social care highlighted, whilst cuts well in excess of £1m in the same area were not reported.

Other cuts will see budgets in the Healthy Child Service and Children’s Early Intervention and Prevention areas reduced, at a time when admissions at A&E for self harm in York’s young people are above the national average.  As well as York school pupils’ education being the lowest funded nationally, York is the also one of the lowest funded areas for mental health services nationally and the lowest in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Overall, York has the second lowest spending per head of any unitary council in the country.

Labour’s finance spokesperson Councillor Neil Barnes said the poor funding position for York from the Government is being compounded by the Tory-Lib Dem approach to the budget where it prioritised cuts over protecting services. He said:

"Some of the logic in this budget is difficult to follow. In the consultation we have a minority preferring ‘more efficiency over increased council tax and fewer services’, yet we don’t hear what the majority response has been.

"We see low numbers of people wishing to see ward committee funding protected and yet this doesn’t translate into what we see in front of us in the Coalition budget.  It begs the question, why consult if you’re going to simply ignore what people tell you?

"Longer term, the race to the bottom amongst Tories and Lib Dems on council tax means the public are short-changed on the services they receive.  This does have an impact with York performing amongst the worst in the region in some services.  That’s nothing to be proud about and runs counter to the positive aspects of living in a wonderful city like York.  It appears to be rare moment of the Tories getting their way in the Coalition, which is always going to be bad news for the public."

Labour will be developing an alternative budget following publication of the Coalition budget this week, before tabling it at Budget Council on 22 February.

Labour Group's reponse to the Coalition budget

The council’s Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition budget for the forthcoming year will ensure children and adult services bear the brunt of the cuts.

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