Have say on cuts to council services

A package of measures aimed at ensuring that North Yorkshire County Council remains on track to achieve millions of pounds in savings as a result of Government funding cuts is go out for public consultation.

Councillors gave the go- ahead that the consultation process should now begin at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.

The proposals to be considered include a review of the criteria for access to adult social care, reductions in subsidies for public transport, a review of charges for some social care services, charging for certain services provided at Household Waste Recycling Centres, and a review of transport arrangements for students over the age of 16 attending schools and colleges.

The county council is committed to saving £92m in the four years ending on March 31, 2015. It has warned that, following recent announcements by the Government over future funding, it will need to find a further estimated £66m between 2015 and 2019.

The major savings proposed for 2014 to 2015 are:

l to only offer social care support to people judged to have substantial needs or higher, rather than currently providing care for those with moderate needs

l for all community-based social servces to be provided on a means tested basis

l reducing its subsidy of £4.3m a year on subsidising 20% of bus journeys which are not commerically viable by £1.1m

l to introduce a charge to residents for disposal of construction and demolition material at recyling centres.

l to look at options to reduce the discretionary cost of post-16 transport to schools and colleges by £400,000 a year.

Leader of the council John Weighell said: “This is not a position which any of us on this authority relish – indeed, on the contrary. “But we have to face up to the financial realities which are being imposed upon us, and to take what steps are necessary to ensure that we are able to face the future in as sound and healthy a state as we can possibly achieve.”

Before the period of austerity began in 2010, the council spent around £500m a year but since the cuts, its spending power has been reduced by one third.