York's Labour Party Accused of U-turn on Salt Bins
3:26pm 28th May 2012
Labour were accused of an embarrassing U-turn today after it was revealed that salt bins across York will be lost unless Parish Councils can pick-up the bill. In March, Labour had said that despite funding cuts all the salt bins required across all wards will be refilled from the Council’s budget.
In the past the 350 salt bins in York were funded from the highways, ward committees, and housing budgets. From April, Labour reduced the ward budgets by 66%, which means there is no longer any funds available to provide and maintain the salt bins that these budgets previously paid for. Parish Councils have now been asked by council officers to take on the funding for these bins or face losing them. In areas where there is no Parish Council the situation is less clear.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Fulford, commented:
“It is hugely worrying that Parish Councils are being asked to pick-up the bill. In March, Labour promised that City of York Council would fund all salt bins required. It now seems that they have either u-turned on this promise or were lying in the first place.
“We have worked hard as a ward team in Fulford to ensure an even spread of salt bins, particularly to help older and vulnerable residents over the last few years. This recently included the addition of two new salt bins funded by the Ward Committee only last year.
I know that in winter these bins are a lifeline for residents and their loss would be very unpopular in Fulford.
“Labour have cut ward committee budgets by around 66% and don’t seem to have any plan in place to now fund vital ward services. Passing the buck to Parish Councils is not good enough and the question remains what will happen in areas of York where there are no Parish Councils to ask. Presumably, in these wards all salt bins previously funded by ward committees are at greater risk.
“It looks like a complete shambles and we need to sort this out now rather than wait for the winter. I am sure the Council does not want to find itself with fewer salt bins and more dangerous ungritted paths. Liberal Democrat budget amendments if passed would have protected ward funding and therefore protected these vital salt bins.”
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