North Yorkshire County Councils warns of more ‘tough decisions’ after budget

County Hall in Northallerton.

North Yorkshire County Council is warning that it faces making further tough decisions following the Chancellor’s budget which officials say offers no relief from relentless austerity for local government.

The council said there was little in the budget which would ease the pressure for the council in delivering services for children and for young, older and vulnerable people.

Although the Government has announced extra money for the NHS there is no immediate cash boost for adult social care where North Yorkshire faces enormous pressures, officials said.

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Although the council welcomed the publication next year of a Green Paper which will set out major changes to adult social care for a more effective and sustainable system, this was for the long term and did not address the present crisis, it said.

The council said it must wait for its final settlement in December but the headline budget announcements would suggest that the long term position remains largely unchanged with the county council having to save a further £43m from its revenue budget by 2019/20.

The council has plans for £33m and a savings gap of £10m remains before news of the next funding settlement is made. This gives a total of £169.4m saved over the decade – which represents a reduction of 34 per cent in the council’s spending power.

So far, out of £152m the council has already saved, only 25 per cent has had an impact on frontline services to communities, it said.

The vast majority of savings have come from back office and administration, staff and management posts, procurement changes and other general efficiencies.

“We are now down to the bone” said county councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance.

“We have done everything we can possibly do to protect frontline 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.”