City joins ranks of councils warning of more cuts ahead

YORK Council is facing its “biggest challenge yet” as it looks to make savings of £23.4m over the next two years, chief executive Kersten England said yesterday.

She was speaking as York became the latest Yorkshire councilto warn of another year of cuts as Government funding reductions bite.

The authority also outlined proposals to raise council tax by 
1.9 per cent joining councils including Leeds, Hull and neighbouring North Yorkshire County Council.

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Ms England said: “We’ve worked to protect front line services for as long as possible for residents and, by comparison with other authorities, we have managed to maintain most of the services we provide through efficiencies and back office and management reductions. However, we – and all of local government – are now facing our biggest challenge yet when it comes to deciding whether we can continue to deliver certain services and, if we do, how we deliver them.”

The Government is offering extra money to councils freezing their bills but York Council said it would need to find a further £560,000 in savings to qualify.

Council leader James Alexander said: “We want to see all residents benefitting from well paid jobs, good incomes, quality housing and varied leisure opportunities and have been working hard to provide the right environment for businesses to thrive and grow, so that they might increase the supply of jobs in the city.

“The combination of increasing costs and further cuts to our funding means harder decisions need to be made over which services to keep and which will have to be scaled back, stopped or delivered in a different way – by communities themselves, by businesses, or social enterprises and charities.”