Budget questions and answers

The County Council is halfway through a programme that will see it become smaller and more efficient as it works more closely with North Yorkshire communities.

Information about our budget

This page provides a simple guide to the situation facing the County Council as a result of austerity, how we plan to address that situation, the progress we are making and the challenges we face.

We held a consultation to help us make the decision of how to approach council tax in 2018-19. Up to date information about this year's council tax can be found here.

What is the situation?

Funding provided by central government to local authorities to deliver services has been reduced significantly in recent years. The total savings requirement to meet the reductions in government funding as well as all our costs is estimated at about £174m over the nine years from 2011-12 to 2019-20. This is equivalent to reducing our spending power by about 34 per cent over the decade, while dealing with increasing demand for services. This presents a considerable challenge and we face difficult decisions on spending and service provision.

How do we plan to achieve this?

We have drawn up the 2020 North Yorkshire programme, a long-term plan to make savings through change. This change involves working with communities to find ways in which they can provide services better and more cheaply, for example in running libraries. Our stronger communities programme is supporting this work. We are also working with communities, families and individuals to help older and vulnerable people live independently and well for longer. Through our extra care programme we are providing homes where people can live independently, but with care on hand when they need it. We also support people with the skills and equipment they need to live independently. People have told us that is what they want to do.

Will council tax rise?

Following a public consultation councillors decided the county council's council tax level for 2018-19 at their meeting on 21 February 2018.

Information explaining council tax changes in 2018-19 in full can be found here.

What have we achieved so far?

Up to the end of 2017/8 we will have saved more than £142m. This has been done largely by improving the efficiency of our back office operations, such as reducing management costs, cutting the cost of our contracts with suppliers and working with partners to avoid duplication. This has helped us to keep the impact on frontline services to a minimum. However, as further savings are required, it becomes increasingly difficult to protect frontline services, which is why we're working with communities to find alternative ways of providing services.

Among the efficiency savings are:

  • reducing the costs of human resources, finance, technology, property, legal and democratic services;
  • cutting the cost of our contracts with suppliers;
  • reducing the number of managers;
  • pooling administrative support and reducing numbers;
  • making savings on staff terms and conditions; and
  • increased income and new ways of working.

Among the frontline savings are:

  • changes to library services, meaning some are now community-run;
  • replacing elderly persons' homes with extra care housing;
  • reducing youth and children's centres but providing targeted support;
  • reducing transport subsidies; and
  • reducing grass-cutting services.

What challenges do we face?

To meet the challenge of substantially reduced government funding, we expect to need to save about a further £44m over the next four years. We have identified where some of this can be saved, but currently face a shortfall of £10.7m. Achieving the required savings becomes increasingly difficult, as there are fewer savings that can be made from just back office functions. We need to ensure that we can still invest in our priority areas, including roads, broadband, supporting the elderly and vulnerable and giving a good start to all young people. More than a quarter of the county's adult population is over 65. Every year the population of older people grows, and with it the demand for care and support.

Where does the council's money come from?

Our funding comes broadly from three areas: central government funding, council tax and business rates. More information on this year's budget and spending can be found here.

Budget live chat

North Yorkshire residents were invited to take part in a web chat about the county council’s budget and council tax before county councillors met in February 2018 to consider and decide upon the budget.

Between 5pm and 7pm on 23 January 2018, County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les and Chief Executive Richard Flinton were online to answer questions about council tax, the financial challenges facing the county and the council’s priorities. You can view a transcript of the live chat below.

Live Blog Budget web chat - 23 January
 

2016

Council leader Cllr Carl Les and chief executive Richard Flinton held a live web chat on Tuesday 13 December 2016. You can read the questions asked during the chat and the answers given below.

Live blog budget chat 2016
 

 

2015

In a similar web chat from 2015 the questions ranged from council tax to reductions in staff, and from roads to waste.

 

Live blog budget chat 2015
 

 

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