North Yorkshire has welcomed the Chancellor’s Spending Review statement today, which has set out increased funding levels for councils to help them tackle the next year and to support their communities through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Details of how the one year spending programme will impact on North Yorkshire are still awaited, but county council leaders are pleased to note that £1.55bn of additional funding and £300m for social care have been provided in recognition of the pressures county councils are facing in leading the reaction to Covid.
North Yorkshire also welcomes the announcement of an income guarantee to compensate for losses in council tax and business rates income and the establishment of a compensation scheme at a 75 per cent rate.
Cllr Carl Les, North Yorkshire County Council’s leader said: “We have long been leading the call for an income guarantee fund because of our concerns about a reduction in council tax collections and we thank the Government for listening.”
The County Council will need to look at the fine detail of today’s announcement and how the money will actually be distributed, details of which will not come until later when the Local Government Finance Settlement is announced. A multi-year Spending Review was due to take place this year, but has been postponed due to Covid-19.
County Council leaders have noted the flexibility the Government is affording local government to raise council tax and the adult social care precept, given the toll on the council’s budget from supporting communities and social care through the coronavirus pandemic.
“We wholly welcome this additional funding announced by the Chancellor today,” said County Councillor Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, “it is good news in a very difficult period.
“We do not underestimate the budgetary challenges ahead of us. We face a £100m gap in our finances over the next three years and we need to work out what this will mean for us as we go forward.
“The long-term pressures we face, particularly in adult social care and in children’s special educational needs, continue to increase at a rate greater than everybody anticipated and we need a long-term solution to address those pressures.
“We see the Chancellor has given us the opportunity to raise council tax for the adult social care precept to deal with the huge additional demand on social care budgets as a result of Covid-19.
“Though we understand the difficulties Westminster faces in making changes to the financial planning system, we continue to feel aggrieved that residents in this county pay too much council tax particularly in comparison to London.
“We urgently need the Government to address the issue of fairer funding for rural and shire counties which face the largest funding gap and have been historically underfunded and for North Yorkshire’s residents who pay more council tax than their urban counterparts.”