Bleak prospects for front-line services in North Yorkshire following Budget announcements

The budget has sparked concerns over front-line services
The budget has sparked concerns over front-line services

North Yorkshire County Council has warned that residents face 'bleak prospects of further tough decisions' on front-line service following the Chancellor's Budget.

Although the council will not know until December what funding will be available it has said the announcements today (November 22) indicate pressure will not be taken off services for children, young, older and vulnerable people.

A further £43 million will have to be saved by 2019/20, but the council's budget has already been reduced by 34 per cent over the past decade. This has left services being cut to the bone according to the council.

Coun Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire County Council Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance said: “We have done everything we can possibly do to protect front-line services thus far and will attempt to do so going forward. But with national productivity flat lining, it appears austerity will continue for local government.

We will scrutinise the detail of the local government settlement in December, but as things stand it would appear we have nowhere else to go but to make some very tough decisions.”

Currently over 140,000 people in the county are aged over 65 and 13.5 per cent over 85, this figure is projected to increase in the coming years. The county also faces an overspend by £3 million for adult social care, this is despite having a two per cent social care precept in council tax that has raised an additional £5 million.

Although spending will continue to be prioritised for vulnerable people the council has said the demand is on a budget that will continue to be increasingly stretched.

It has also flagged its concern over the announcement of £1.7 billion for transport infrastructure, they say this will be directed largely to cities and urban areas.

Coun Dadd said " “Investment in infrastructure is necessary in rural as well as urban areas if we are truly to improve connectivity east to west, north to south and across our northern regions.

“North Yorkshire is respected as a high performing, low spending council with an innovative can-do culture, but we are concerned that overall the needs of rural areas are given low priority and this budget has done nothing to dispel that concern. We will campaign vigorously for fairer funding for our rural county.”

A meeting of County Councillors to consider a proposed budget will take place on February 21.