Find out about our latest budget, and about savings we are making by increasing efficiency and working more closely with local communities.
Where does the council's money come from?
Our funding comes from three main areas: central government, council tax and business rates. More information on this year's budget and spending, and how it relates to council tax can be found here.
What is the current situation?
In February 2018, we agreed the budget for the financial year 2018-19, along with the medium term financial strategy up to and including 2021-22. You can access the detailed budget documents here. We also held a consultation to help us decide how to approach council tax in 2018-19.
We are at the end of the seventh year of austerity, and we look likely to face five more years of financial challenges. Our finances have reduced, but demand for our services has risen, particularly relating to our priority areas, including roads, broadband, supporting the elderly and vulnerable, and giving a good start to all young people.
Around a quarter of the county's population is over 65, and demand for adult social care continues to be very high. Also, the need for, and cost of children’s services such as special educational needs is rising this year, both in North Yorkshire and across the UK. As a result, we have to look to deliver our services in different ways, to meet the challenge of doing more with less.
How do we plan to achieve this?
Across the UK, an increasing number of councils report that they are facing large deficits, and do not have sufficient reserves to bridge the financial gap. Here in North Yorkshire however, we have planned in advance. Our long-term approach means we are well placed to work through these uncertain times.
Our long-term plan to make savings through change, called the 2020 North Yorkshire programme, has now been in place for over four years. 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 has been 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.
What have we achieved so far?
Up to the end of the 2017-18 financial year, we had already made revenue savings of around £142m. Focusing our savings on increasing our own efficiency has helped us to keep the impact on front line services to a minimum, but the more we need to save, the more difficult this becomes. This is why we're working with communities to find alternative ways of providing services.
The latest budget includes details of the savings we predict will be needed over the financial years 2018-19 to 2021-22. This totals approximately £44m. From this, we have already identified £33.6m of savings, with £10.7m remaining.
Efficiency savings already identified include:
- reducing the costs of human resources, finance, technology, property, legal and democratic services;
- increased efficiency in our 'back office' operations;
- cutting the cost of our contracts with suppliers;
- working with partners to avoid duplication;
- 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.
Front line savings already identified include:
- changes to library services, meaning some are now community-run;
- replacing elderly persons' homes with extra care housing, to better support the needs of elderly people who wish to retain their independence;
- changing to a model of providing targeted support to children and young people while reducing the number of children's centres;
- review of transport subsidies; and
- changes to grass-cutting services.
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.
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.
In a similar web chat from 2015 the questions ranged from council tax to reductions in staff, and from roads to waste.