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Council given extra Government cash

Council given extra Government cash

Published at 6:25pm 11th February 2016. (Updated at 6:32pm 11th February 2016)

Craven has been highlighted as one of the areas worst hit by funding cuts.

As a result, the Government is giving Craven District Council extra cash to help it provide services which are more costly in rural areas.

Its Rural Services Delivery Grant has gone up from £69,000 to £278,000, whilst a 'transition grant' of £21,000 has been awarded for two years.

The authority also has the option of increasing council tax by £5 per year, which is a rise of around 3.3%.

That equates to less than 10 pence per week for each household and would follow five years of freezing council tax.

The council has previously been told that it must keep increases under 2%.

If councillors agreed to the £5 increase, it would generate an extra £43,000 towards providing services.

Councillor Richard Foster, Leader of Craven District Council, said: "We welcome this recognition of the struggle faced by local authorities due to funding cuts, particularly rural councils such as Craven. This releases some of the extreme pressure felt by the council this year.

"However, we still face significant financial pressures over the next few years and we still face the challenge of delivering major income and savings. This transitional funding is only in place for two years, while councils' revenue support grants are being phased out completely.

"We will consider the option to increase council tax by £5 per dwelling, per year, and a decision will be made as part of the budget-setting process."

The Local Government Association has welcomed the extra funding for sparse rural areas like Craven, but has warned that councils will still face financial challenges.

Chairman Lord Porter added: "The LGA has been working hard with the Government on behalf of all councils - both publicly and privately - to highlight the financial challenges they face over the next few years.

"We are pleased it has listened to our fundamental call for new money to be found to smooth out funding reductions for some councils in 2016/17 and beyond, without any other councils losing out further as a result.

"Funding reductions will still be challenging for councils over the next four years. Any extra cost pressures will have to be funded by councils finding savings from elsewhere."