Leaders of North Yorkshire County Council which is facing escalating demand for many of its care and education-related services have emphasised the urgency of the Government providing more funding.
Deputy leader Councillor Gareth Dadd said while the financial year which ended last month had seen a £2.5m underspend in operational budgets – equating to about 0.7 per cent – this had only been achieved through one-off grants.
He said: “The question moving forward is will this continue? It is a national issue. One-off grant money is fine and welcome in the short-term, but it is long-term sustainable funding we seek.”
The council’s education boss Councillor Patrick Mulligan said as funding for high needs pupils had increased nationally by 11 per cent since 2014 the number of pupils receiving such services had leapt by 35 per cent.
Cllr Mulligan said: “We are taking measures to try and meet that challenge, and we are making some savings, but ultimately these are under-funded. Whilst we are taking this matter to the Government it is actually getting to the stage where it is quite urgent. We can’t keep making savings. I hope the Government is taking this very seriously in its spending review.”
Cllr Dadd added: “The Department for Education is getting off Scot-free and the local government sector is cross-subsidising it.
“There is certainly a case to answer and I know Rishi Sunak as Local Government Minister recognises that.”