New figures show the scale of the cuts to spending on public services by City of York Council since the modern period of austerity began.
Respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has worked out exactly how much each council has changed its expenditure in recent years.
Other authorities have seen far worse cutbacks. The biggest drop, of 46%, is by Westminster Council in London; and one in three councils have faced cuts of 30% or more.
2009-10 £134.7 million
2016-17 £101.7 million
Source: the Institute for Fiscal Studies
The IFS says the stats are based on 2016-2017 prices, and take into account changes to councils’ responsibilities over the time period.
Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell said the cutbacks had caused hardship to many in the city.
She told YorkMix:
Labour warned that austerity would have serious consequences, and we are witnessing this now. The sharp rise in street homelessness, the lack of youth services, the number of families struggling with social care and the sharp rise in anti-social behaviour are the price we pay for the Council’s cuts.
Every public service from prisons, schools and hospitals are paying the price, and this combined with the scale of local authority cuts creates a harsh picture both locally and nationally.
Last Wednesday, we learnt that all these cuts had been in vein, as the country’s debt has spiralled to £1.7 trillion and the deficit is still growing.
Cllr Janet Looker is the leader of the Labour Group on City of York Council. She told YorkMix:
Here in our own area we see this unfairness reflected in cuts to York leaving it able to spend 24% less on services against 11% less in North Yorkshire and just 4% less in the East Riding.
Local Tories and Lib Dems have failed to stand up for York in challenging these cuts, unlike their colleagues who have done so in other parts of the country, which is probably the most disappointing aspect of them now running the council in Coalition together.
But Cllr Chris Steward, former Tory leader of City of York Council and now its finance portfolio holder took a different view.
He told us:
Rightly councils have been forced to do things more efficiently and in York in 2015 residents gave the Conservatives more votes than any other party which no doubt reflected they wanted a party that would deliver an efficient council but focused on frontline services.
We are determined to keep council tax low, recognising that all of the money council spends is money that is hard earned by residents. With less money available generally we will look at different methods to deliver the same or better outcomes.