Government funding welcomed but huge challenges remain

This story was published 17 December 2021

We have welcomed extra funding announced yesterday (16 December) in the Local Government Funding Settlement – but stresses that the authority continues to face enormous challenges and pressures.

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We received news that we would benefit from a further £10m in the settlement as part of increased funding in light of the extra pressures particularly in social care and the Covid pandemic.

Even before the settlement, we anticipated that we would need to find just under £19m of savings over the coming years.

Cllr Gareth Dadd, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance, said: “The additional money is very welcome. However, this continues to be a turbulent time. We remain in the midst of the pandemic and are responding to the increased pressures this puts on the county’s communities and economy, as well as our own resources.

“At the same time, long-term challenges continue to grow, as we deal with massive pressures in the social care markets and unprecedented levels of inflation and national insurance contributions. This means that as welcome as the extra money is, it is already more than accounted for.”

We are now consulting the public about council tax for next year. Under Government rules, we are able to raise council tax by up to 1.99% from April, plus up to a further 2.49% for the adult social care precept.

County Council leader Cllr Carl Les said: “Putting up council tax is never an easy option for this authority. We have always striven to be moderate in our increases.

“In considering the level of council tax, we must understand and balance the hardship families are currently facing and the added pressure a council tax increase may bring with the need to fund essential services to support the most vulnerable in our communities through this critical period.

“We continue to feel that residents in North Yorkshire pay too much council tax, particularly in comparison to London, and urge the Government to press on with funding reform to create a fairer solution for rural counties.”

The coming year will be our last before the merger of the county and seven district and borough councils into one new authority. In this final year, the council remains as ambitious as ever for its residents and committed to ensuring strong foundations for the new council.

Cllr Les added: “We are currently developing our Council Plan and budget and encourage residents to have their say on our budget, ambitions and priorities.”