Budget update: North Yorkshire's £1.6b grant rise welcomed by county council as era of austerity is eased

North Yorkshire County Council has welcomed the multi-billion increase in grant funding for local government in yesterday's Budget and spending review.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 9:23 am
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 9:26 am
Coun Carl Les, North Yorkshire County Council’s leader, said: “The Budget and spending review provides welcome relief to the financial pressures faced by councils like ours who provide adult social care and have pulled out all the stops to support people during Covid-19."

In a sign that the financial pressures of the era of austerity may be easing for councils like North Yorkshire's, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that councils are to receive grant funding increases worth £4.8bn over the next three years, amounting to £1.6 billion per annum.

Coun Carl Les, North Yorkshire County Council’s leader, said: “This announcement provides welcome relief to the financial pressures faced by councils like ours who provide adult social care and have pulled out all the stops to support people during Covid-19.

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“It also gives us an opportunity to plan ahead with our spending.

"The challenges ahead are many and this increase in spending does not mean we are out of the woods as the 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.

“Social care costs will continue to rise, and there is a desperate need to recruit more care staff to meet the needs of our residents. But this extra grant funding is a much-needed fillip.

“We must of course wait for the detail but on the face of it this is better than we were expecting and I am pleased the Chancellor has recognised the pressures and is working with us to address these.”

After years of substantial cuts in central government grants to North Yorkshire putting services under severe strain here, as elsewhere, Rishi Sunak brought austerity to a partial halt in his statement to the House of Commons yesterday.

The Chancellor also announced a 3pc increase in core spending power, although this depends on councils increasing council tax by 2pc with a 1pc adult social care precept increase.

Coun Les has also welcomed funding for specific projects announced today which will bring benefit to North Yorkshire as part of the Government’s wider national support for levelling up across the UK.

These include:

£2.6 billion for local road upgrades over this Parliament including the A59 Kex Gill in North Yorkshire.

£31 million investment through the Transforming Cities Fund to improve stations and walking and cycling access in Selby, Skipton and Harrogate.

£5 billion for Project Gigabit, rolling out gigabit capable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK.

£171 million of local roads maintenance funding between 2022-23 and 2024-25

Coun Les said: “This funding for the county’s infrastructure will no doubt help towards our ambitions in attracting business and inward investment into our rural communities.

“When the Government considers its Levelling Up agenda it must also consider the future of rural areas and the great contribution they can make to the nation’s prosperity”.