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 to be put forward for consideration by the full council at its next meeting on 24 July 2013
Members of the council’s Executive yesterday agreed unanimously to submit the proposals to the full council. If they are approved at that stage, a public consultation process will begin.
The proposals 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 31 March, 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 proposals for 2014-15, (all of which are subject to a public consultation process) considered by the Executive are:
Social care criteria
North Yorkshire is one of only a handful of authorities in England and Wales which makes social care support available to people judged to have “moderate” needs; 87% of authorities intervene when needs are assessed as “substantial.” The proposal is that North Yorkshire will join the majority of authorities in offering services to people with “subtantial” needs or higher.
At present, most but not all community-based social services are provided on a means-tested basis. The proposal is that in future all such services would be paid for, although still on a means-tested basis to ensure people who cannot afford to pay would still receive the support they need.
The county council spends some £4.4m a year on subsidising the 20% of bus journeys which are not commercially viable. The proposal is to review provision with the aim of reducing the subsidies by £1.1m. In assessing the options, a strategy would be adopted of ensuring that as many communities as possible retain a basic bus service to their nearest market town, and that an “inter-urban” network with a minimum set frequency is maintained.
Household waste recycling services
At present, residents of North Yorkshire are allowed to dispose of construction and demolition material, including soil and rubble, at household waste recycling centres without payment. The cost to the council of disposal of that soil and rubble is £240,000 a year. The proposal is for the introduction of a charge for the disposal of construction and demolition material.
Post 16 transport
The council is looking at various options to reduce the discretionary cost of post-16 transport to schools and colleges by £400,000 a year, ultimately by implementing changes over a three year period. Students can currently purchase a subsidised pass at a maximum price of £350. The proposal is to work with schools and colleges to continue a subsidy but to reduce the net cost to the authority.
Before the current period of austerity began in 2010, the county council spent approximately £500m a year. Since then, the actual and anticipated spending cuts mean the council’s spending power has been reduced by one third.