Find out about our latest budget.

In February we agreed our budget for the financial year 2021-22, along with a medium term plan up to and including 2023-24. You can access the detailed budget documents here.  We consulted with North Yorkshire residents to help us decide how to manage and prioritise our finances during the next financial year.

2020/21 will undoubtedly be remembered as the year of Covid. The financial pressures have been immense and this comes on the back of a whole decade of austerity.

Government has only announced funding for a single year (2021/22) and we are in the midst of possible structural reform for local government in North Yorkshire. Demand for our services particularly due to Covid has been significant.  Around a quarter of the county's population is over 65, and demand for adult social care continues to be very high. There is therefore a high degree of uncertainty and a challenging financial position.

The budget report that was approved by County Council on 17th February 2021 can be found here Executive Report to Council

Live Blog Budget web chat - 23 January

Frequently asked questions

Local authorities are required by law to have a balanced budget. That is a financial plan based on sound assumptions which shows how income will equal spend over the short- and medium-term. Plans would take into account deliverable cost savings and/or local income growth strategies as well as usable reserves.

Reserves are like household savings. The money has been put away to pay for something in the future like a car or as a resource for emergencies such as when the boiler breaks down unexpectedly.

There are two types of council reserves:

  1. Earmarked reserves – these are already committed to be spent. 
  2. General reserves – these as for responding to unexpected events such as major funding issues.

The amount of general reserves would be enough to fund the council for just 25 days if all funding was to stop (this does not take account of Strategic Capacity Unallocated reserve). Also with reserves, you can only spend them once. If they are gone, the council would be exposed to the risk that if some serious unexpected expenditure is necessary, the money just won’t be there.

Our capital budget is spent on fixed assets. That includes new buildings and major refurbishments, buying land or buildings and investment in shares or bonds. The capital budget can be funded from the revenue budget, through borrowing (within strict parameters set by government or from capital receipts. We can only borrow to support the capital budget not to pay for everyday services. Capital receipts such as the sale of assets can only be used to either repay debt or to support the capital budget.

So if, for example, we were to sell County Hall, the money received would be a capital receipt and could only be used to redeem debt or for the capital budget. It could not be used for social care or libraries or other services. Redeeming debt might sound like a good option, except of course interest rates are now at an all-time low and we have to pay significant penalties for paying off debt early.