A budget plan has been approved at a full meeting of the county council.
Councillors made the decision amid growing calls from councils nationally for the Government to make the sustainability of vital services a top priority in its Spending Review.
By the end of 2018-19 the county council will have secured more than £157m in savings, with a further £40.3m required in the next three years to meet a £197m austerity challenge by 2021-22 – an overall reduction of nearly 40 per cent in its spending power since 2011.
The savings plan approved today means council tax is to rise 4.99% for North Yorkshire.
This includes an increase in general council tax next year of 2.99% along with a 2% social care precept, making a total of 4.99%.
This is then followed by an increase in general council tax alone of 1.99% for each year thereafter up to 2021-22 to enable the authority to prioritise frontline services.
The overall 4.99% increase is equivalent to just over £5 a month for an average household or £1.20p per week.
The council has adopted plans to deliver £26m in savings over the next three years with a further £14m still to find. Nevertheless, despite these critical challenges, North Yorkshire continues to put its own resources into supporting priority services which are underfunded by central Government.
The county council accepted a £1.5m saving in the high needs budget for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, but is still investing an additional £11.6m of its own money over the next three years into the high needs block as government funding falls short of the level of demand. The council is making this investment to ease the pressure despite growing demand across all its services – adult social care, children’s social care, highways and transportation.
North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor Carl Les said:
What we are seeing now is unprecedented demand in two key areas of our work – looking after vulnerable adults and providing for children with higher needs. I`m grateful to our MPs who have taken up this cause, and for Ministers who have listened and provided extra funds this year.
Hopefully these demands now recognised will find their way into the next Comprehensive Spending Review. This will be influenced by the Fairer Funding Review and again, through our MPs and the County Council Network, we have made our case for a redistribution of funding based on the costs of delivering services in a rural context. There are clear imbalances per head of population between Inner London boroughs, urban areas and shire counties, with us coming last.
North Yorkshire has a reputation nationally for its top quality and innovative services and sound financial management. We will continue to do the best we can for our communities, to deliver good education and social care for young and old, to keep the county on the move and support economic growth.
With responsibility for the welfare and education of more than 128,000 children and young people in North Yorkshire, the council spends £88m on children’s services each year, £22m of that on home-to-school transport alone.
The council also supports thousands of older people and younger adults, including people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental ill health, as well as their carers. Adult social care services are delivered in numerous ways and include prevention, reablement and supporting people to live independently in their own homes as well as living in residential and nursing care.
The council spends almost £250m on public health and adult social care, supporting people to live longer, healthier, more independent lives.
More than £100m is spent each year on areas such as highways, winter gritting and waste and the council is responsible for one of the largest and most diverse road networks in England, covering 5,800 miles of roads and 1,630 bridges.
The council is also responsible for disposing of the household waste collected by district councils, processing 6,000 tonnes of black bag waste every week at the Allerton Waste Recovery Park.