Council told to save another £20 million

NYCC Deputy Leader Carl Les. (S)

NYCC Deputy Leader Carl Les. (S)

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A Government decision to redistribute funds means the county council has to save 
£11 million this year and a further £9 million over the next 12 months.

This change comes without warning following the Government’s decision to redistribute funds from counties to metropolitan areas such as those in London.

The decision has been based upon authorities’ abilities to raise funds from council tax.

While the Government is allowing authorities to increase its precepts by 2%, even at a rise of just short of 4% North Yorkshire County Council would need to make savings of a further £82.5m by 2019/20.

This is on top of the £91.1m made between 2011/12 and 2014/15, giving a total of £173.6m over the decade.

In all it represents a reduction of about 34% in council spending power.

The council will make representations about the unfairness of the settlement as part of government’s consultation which ends today as well as putting its case to local MPs.

Council leader Carl Les said: “We understand and accept the need for austerity.

“However, we are concerned at what we see as unfairness in the new distribution of Government funding for the coming year.

“The settlement does not properly reflect need in North Yorkshire, where the sparse, rural nature of the county makes the cost of delivering services higher than in more condensed urban settings.”

The county council is now having to consider taking money from its reserves, currently at around £33 million, which was being considered for flood defence measures and projects in order to make the cost cuts in time.

Statistics show the average salary per head in Westminster is £39,000 compared to £25,000 in North Yorkshire.

However, the average band D council tax bill for homes within the Scarborough borough is £1609.97 while in Westminster it is £672.

Council tax rates are higher in shire counties because they receive less government grant support.