Council chief dismisses extra government funding claims

Cllr Gareth Dadd.

North Yorkshire Council, which is facing a £47.8m black hole despite seeking to charge residents the maximum council tax rise. has dismissed opposition claims that using millions of pounds of extra Government funding to cut its deficit is “a missed opportunity” to improve vital services.

The authority’s deputy leader and finance boss Councillor Gareth Dadd said the Labour group’s calls to invest the additional funding into services for vulnerable people were misguided as the Tory-run authority had already proposed a budget to protect those services.

An officer’s report to a meeting of the authority’s executive on Tuesday recommends an expected £6.2m additional funding “simply reduces
the drawdown of reserves” to reduce the overall deficit by 2026 to £41.6m.

The authority’s leading councillors will be asked to consider making no changes to the budget it approved last week.

North Yorkshire residents are facing an average increase of almost £90 in their annual council tax payment to the unitary authority from April, despite plans to raid the council’s reserves and use £46m of savings.

The report states despite the additional funding, the proposed budget still relies upon reserves to ensure a balanced position and that funding of £76m is forecast to be required to balance the council’s books over the next three years.

The report states: “With a recurring deficit of £47.7m by 2026/27, without corrective action, this reserve would be fully depleted in less than a further two years.”

Leader of the council’s Labour group, Councillor Steve Shaw Wright, branded the revised budget proposal as “a missed opportunity”.

He said: “This was a chance to put extra funding into areas that really investment, such as special needs education, education and adult social care instead of saying we don’t have to cut as much.

“I can understand you want a balanced budget, but we are not doing our best by failing the people who need the services.

“They are spending £21m on transporting children with special needs in and around and outside the county when we should be providing places at local schools.”

However, Coun Dadd said the funding was being used to reduce the amount of the council’s dwindling reserves needed to balance the books.

He said while any money was welcome it did not alter the fact the authority had a significant deficit to contend with over the medium term.

Coun Dadd said the Labour group’s criticisms were misguided as the authority had proposed a budget to protect services to vulnerable people.

He added: “It’s not the time for champagne corks to be flying.”

2 Comments

  1. Another council tax rise and government money to fund the fat cat lifestyles of the councillors

Comments are closed.