Council cuts ‘will be devastating’ - claim

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NORTH Yorkshire County Council chiefs warned of the “devastating” consequences of the spending cuts in letters to communities secretary Eric Pickles, it has been revealed.

The county council must find £69 million of savings over the next four years, the vast majority of which have to be found in the first two years.

It has so far identified £54 million of savings – and remains confident it will be able to find the full amount.

The correspondence, released under the Freedom of Information Act, has shown North Yorkshire to be one of several Conservative-led councils to speak out against the cuts.

In a letter to Mr Pickles on 23 December, the Conservative leader of North Yorkshire County Council John Weighell said: “The implications for North Yorkshire are potentially devastating and I believe that the settlement is unfair in the way that it treats this council with serious consequences for front line services.

“I understand the need to tighten public spending and North Yorkshire County Council expects to have to play its part, but this settlement goes beyond any of our expectations.

“The timescale that we are now expected to reduce budgets further is bound to result in a higher impact on front line services than any of us would want.”

The county’s chief executive Richard Flinton added: “Overall the settlement will be devastating for council services. “North Yorkshire County Council does not have a history of raising such concerns but this proposed settlement is so severe and we believe in a number of areas so inequitable and unfair that we are formally moved to ask you to reconsider the terms of the settlement.

“If this settlement stands unaltered then the consequences in North Yorkshire for service delivering will be devastating.”