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Council tax increase approved

Council tax increase approved

Published at 3:32pm 24th February 2016. (Updated at 5:08pm 24th February 2016)

Households across North Yorkshire will face higher council tax bills from April.

North Yorkshire County Council has voted overwhelmingly for an increase of just under 4%, as it continues to make savings and prioritise frontline services.

The average Band D property will pay around 80p extra per week.

Even with the tax increase, which includes a 2% social care precept, the council must still find another £50 million from its revenue budget by 2019/20 as a result of Government cuts.

It's already got plans for £36 million, but there is a remaining savings gap of £14 million.

Without the tax increase for the next four years, it would face a gap of £56 million.

Council bosses say the authority has a duty to prioritise services which protect the most vulnerable people in society, but it also needs to continue to invest in programmes such as superfast broadband and tackling potholes on the roads to boost growth and economic development.

County Councillor Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: "It is worth noting that the Council has continued to deliver its savings programme, and by the end of March this year, it looks likely that we have delivered a total of £116 million of savings since 2011. This is great testament to the work carried out by Members and Officers of the Council.

"The ability to have a plan and then successfully implement that plan are all characteristics of this Council's approach and that is why we are as well-placed as any other County Council to face the financial challenges over the remainder of this decade.

"Our budget report and medium-term financial strategy, which the Executive has recommended, sets out further thinking on how we continue to ensure that the Council lives within its means by the end of the decade.

"Clearly more work needs to be done and we need to continue to review our options, whilst prioritising to protect the most vulnerable in society."

The budget approved for 2016/17 includes £3 million for a further roll-out of superfast broadband, so that the county gets close to 100% coverage.

It also includes a £7.5 million capital investment to increase in primary school places, on the basis that match-funding is secured from the Department for Education.