York MP Hits Out At Council's Plans To Cut Gritting Budget
9:09am 17th September 2013
(Updated 9:10am 17th September 2013)
York Council is being accused of risking safety, wasting money and rigging surveys by one of the city's MPs.
Julian Sturdy says people in his York Outer seat are at risk from sixty-thousand pounds of cuts which means fewer roads will be gritted.
The Conservative points to "extravagant" spending on new council offices and the arts barge, while also saying a council survey on gritting is "tailored" to support the proposals.
Labour cabinet member David Levene's hit back blaming government cuts. He adds the city council is being fair in its questions and safety is at the core of the changes. A statement also suggests the MP should volunteer to become a snow warden.
Julian Sturdy says: “I appreciate the financial climate is still difficult and local authorities must make tough decisions in order to save money. Ultimately, however, it is the local authority’s responsibility to make these choices and sadly I don't feel that the current choices being made by the Council are truly reflective of the needs of York and the surrounding communities. Cuts to essential frontline services appear to be compromising safety, whilst going hand in hand with extravagant, expensive and non-essential projects, such as the Council's new West Offices and the proposed Arts Barge.”
Mr Sturdy also criticised the Council’s online consultation as having being tailored to ensure that responses could only support a pre-determined outcome.
He said: “The questions have very much been tailored to ensure that any respondents are not given full opportunity to comment on the overall proposals, but are merely asked to assign priorities to different road types to facilitate the Council's plans to downgrade others.”
David Levene responded by saying:
"Perhaps if Mr Sturdy and his colleagues in Government had not voted for unprecedented cuts to our budget, then we would not be having to make savings like this one. But he did, so we do.
"To deal with this, for the first time since 1996 we have drawn up a clear, fair, transparent policy on salt bin placement and our grit network with residents' safety at its core.
"We have no choice but to prioritise which roads get which treatment, and we have undertaken a full consultation so residents and businesses can say how they would do this. This will inform our final decision on the 9th October.
"Instead of petty attacks on policies like West Offices that will save York taxpayers' money, perhaps Mr Sturdy should actually defend residents from his own Government's swingeing cuts. Failing that, we would encourage him to join our Snow Warden scheme."
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