North Yorkshire welcomes significant additional funds the Government has announced for the county council’s priority services today following a year of intense lobbying.
The one year spending announcement by the Chancellor Sajid Javid has addressed the two greatest funding pressures for the county council – services for children and young people with special educational needs and adult social care.
Today’s announcement will see an additional 700m nationally for SEN services as part of the extra £7.1bn allocated for schools as well as an additional £1bn for adult social care.
For North Yorkshire this could mean up to £17m in extra cash for these priority areas. The Government has also stated that it will continue, for another year, the short term grants in adult social care which have preserved vital care services and led to important integration work with the NHS.
“This vital additional funding is very welcome and hugely significant” said County Councillor Carl Les, North Yorkshire’s Leader. “This shows that the Government has listened carefully to the pressing case we have made loud and clear in recent months alongside colleagues in the County Councils Network.
“Together we and other council colleagues have set out the urgent need for new funding for children with SEN and in adult social care, along with the continuation of essential grant funding.
“North Yorkshire has recently been at the forefront nationally for raising the profile of this issue and we thank the Government and our MP Rishi Sunak, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, for addressing these concerns. It is very pleasing that these temporary grants – which in North Yorkshire amount to £36m - have now been rolled over and baselined into council funding. This funding gives us some peace of mind - at least for the short term – so that we can continue to protect services for the people in our county most in need.”
The county council will need to look at the fine detail of today’s announcement and how the money will actually be distributed, details of which will not come until later when the Local Government Finance Settlement is announced. A multi-year Spending Review is also due to take place sometime in 2020.
Gary Fielding, North Yorkshire’s Director for Resources said: “The current settlement is very welcome and will help considerably to ease pressure short-term. It buys us a year. But the long-term pressures we face, particularly in adult social care and in children’s special educational needs, continue to increase at a rate greater than everybody anticipated and we need a long-term solution to address those pressures.
“We also need the Government to address the issue of fairer funding for rural and shire counties which face the largest funding gap and have been historically underfunded and for North Yorkshire’s residents who pay more council tax than their urban counterparts.
“Nevertheless we are relieved by the Chancellor’s statement today, and hope this uplift continues in the coming years.”