Issued by City of York Council
Cabinet members have reviewed the council’s performance against the Council Plan priorities and in-year budget, in the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, at a meeting which took place yesterday (Tuesday 16 July).
The council has achieved strong performance against its key priorities to; Create jobs and grow the economy; Get York moving; Build strong communities; Protect vulnerable people; and Protect the environment, despite a particularly challenging financial year.
York’s economy continues to perform well against the regional and national picture with stronger than average employment and – for the first time since 2007 – average earnings for full time workers resident in York which are above the national average.
The city is ranked amongst the top five cities for business investment Local Futures 2013, has seen business growth and survival rate improvements year on year, which are better than both regional and national averages. York is also ranked third out of 64 cities rated by Centre for Cities (2012) for its workforce skills. This reflects the city’s position as a national leader in education provision in again achieving excellent results at A-levels and GCSEs this year.
Whilst housing continues to be a challenge for York, the launch of the Get York Building programme is progressing key development sites across York. The council has also delivered on clear proposals for the expansion of the city’s Park & Ride, a key element of the Access York programme.
The council continues to work within the Leeds City Region (LCR) and as an associate member of the Association of West Yorkshire Authorities (AWYA), to ensure York has both regional and national influence and connectivity.
The authority is progressing key projects as part of its Super Connected City drive to expand the reach of broadband and wifi across York and is also leading an East Coast Mainline Group of Local Authorities to lobby government for investment across the line and to ensure the city benefits from the planned HS2 programme.
Work to promote the city globally has also been progressed with the development of York’s first internationalisation strategy now being delivered.
Significant progress has been made towards ensuring an equal, inclusive and welcoming council and city by acting on and developing recommendations made by the York Fairness Commission. This includes the recent commitment to creating a Poverty Free York with city-wide partners, the implementation of a Equality Scheme and the ensure that all residents in this city have access to quality financial and debt advice.
We will also ensure that those who are entitled to Government grants or benefit have the support to get what they are entitled to
This included successes such as a key investment into provision for Gypsy and Traveller’s in the city from the Homes and Communities Agency, commissioning England’s first Recovery College to support people overcoming alcohol and substance abuse and successfully secured funding from Government to provide heating systems and insulation in the homes of the city’s most vulnerable.
The report outlines current and expected future challenges for the council with specific focus on addressing; changes to the welfare benefit system coming into place in April 2013 and creating an increased demand for support, particularly with debt advice; increased demand for adult care services, as the city sees an a rise in the over 85s of 30 per cent; continued pressure to improve services such as education and social care in the face of rising demand; and additional responsibilities in moving towards managing the public health agenda, through the delivery of the city’s new health and wellbeing strategy.
Cllr Williams, Cabinet member for Finance, Performance and Customer Service, said: “Along with other local authorities, York has experienced significant reductions in our Government grant, alongside increased cost pressures in essential services such as Adult Social Care.
“Despite this challenging financial climate, we have ensured that the financial pressures we currently face are mitigated in order to end the financial year with a balanced budget and still maximise funding for schemes and initiatives which have benefitted the city and its residents.
“Our economy remains one of the most stable in the region, our unemployment levels remain below regional and national levels, our children are attaining excellent results at A-levels and GCSEs.”
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