£21m more cuts across the county

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More services will be cut and council tax will rise after North Yorkshire County Council revealed it is facing a further £21m reduction in Government funding.

The council is currently in the process of making savings of £94m by March but the announcement reaffirms the fact that a further £73m will have to be found over the next four years.

This represents a cut in spending power of more than a third in eight years.

Executive member for central and financial services Coun Carl Les (Con) said: “The announcement by the Government is just as difficult as we had anticipated.

“It confirms the accuracy of our planning and emphasises the extremely difficult and challenging predicament in which we find ourselves.”

Council members will be asked in February to approve the 2015/16 budget. Although no firm decisions have yet been made, the Knaresborough Post has learned that the authority’s financial strategy is based on a rise in council tax of two per cent.

If the council does not increase tax, it will have to find an extra £2.3m in savings.

Gary Fielding, the council’s corporate director for strategic resources, said the Government’s spending power calculator was ‘outrageous’.

He added “It is very misleading as it takes into account health budgets which we just don’t see. That’s money that is not for us.”

Director of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE) Graeme McDonald said: “This settlement reminds us that the financial challenge facing local government is immense. Cuts of up to 6.4 per cent will push some authorities to breaking point.

“The future of local services is unsustainable without a more ambitious plan for public service reform.”

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