Where does money need to be spent in Leeds? Your top priorities in YEP survey

Social care, hospitals and public transport have topped the list of areas in Leeds where you want to see increased spending, the YEP can reveal.

Tuesday, 5th December 2017, 11:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:13 am

Responses to our Big Cities Survey called for more council and government spending on a range of issues, and rated services in Leeds based on their provision.

When asked to choose three areas in Leeds most in need of increased spending, more than half of those surveyed said hospitals, GP and dental practices.

They were also passionate about social care - as 49 per cent of people said supporting people in need had to be a spending priority.

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Just under half chose public transport - put into focus yesterday as the YEP launched our first special report following the survey - and 41 per cent highlighted roads in the city.

Schools and cleanliness of public places were also two of the top picks, at 24 and 17 per cent respectively.

YEP survey: Standards of street cleanliness in Leeds ‘are improving significantly’. LeedsBID boss saysCoun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said the survey results reflected government funding cuts.

Social care is extra support, usually provided by local authorities, for vulnerable children and adults.

When asked how people rated the provision of social care in Leeds, 34 per cent of people said “poor”, or “very poor”. Just 11 per cent said “good”, and under one third rated it as “average”.

Coun Blake said: “Seven years of austerity have seen spending on core public services like the NHS, social care, council services and policing cut substantially by central government.”

The council charges residents an additional three per cent on council tax bills, under the Government’s Adult Social Care Precept, to help fund social care.

Coun Blake said: “Government cuts to preventative services like public health have the perverse consequence of increasing the demand and cost for other services like the NHS and social care. We have made substantial and lasting changes to how we protect delivery of front line services and jobs, but this survey shows Government should put an end to austerity with immediate effect.”

While people said they most wanted to see more spending on healthcare, they rated provision among the best of the city’s services and almost 50 per cent rated hospitals or practices as good or very good.

Also among the results, 56 per cent rated provision for roads as very poor or poor. Just one per cent said they were very good. For public transport, 45 per cent said provision was poor or very poor. As reported yesterday, half of people who took part in our survey said they find themselves stuck in traffic every single day in Leeds.

Today the YEP can reveal a breakdown of an investment package, worth nearly £500m, which is being drawn up by transport chiefs to imporve public transport. The £500m investment includes:

Leeds Public Transport Improvement Package (£173.5m) from the failed Trolleybus scheme.

East Leeds Orbital Road (£100m)

City centre improvement package (£150m)

Leeds Bradford Airport surface connectivity improvement road (up to £75m)

Other major transport investments heading to Leeds:

Investment in a new bus fleet by operator First (£71m)

Council roads and bridges maintenance (£30m-a-year)

Leeds railway station remodelling – (over £500m)

HS2/Northern Powerhouse Rail project - (yet unknown).

Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, said the region was in “dire need” of infrastructure improvements. “I am not surprised that public transport and roads have been highlighted by the survey as issues that need to be urgently addressed,” he said.

“Our region is in dire need of infrastructure to improve the road network and rail connectivity and this cannot happen until our ambition is matched by central government funding.”

“In London, each person receives almost £2,000 per head for transport infrastructure - Yorkshire get less than a tenth of that.

“I will continue to push and call for this vast funding gap to be redressed so that Leeds gets the infrastructure it so badly needs.”