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Coronavirus: North Yorkshire councils warn they are facing funding shortfall

Coronavirus: North Yorkshire councils warn they are facing funding shortfall

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 5:04pm 22nd April 2020.

North Yorkshire councils are warning they are facing multi-million pound funding shortfalls as they battle to keep a cap on the escalating costs of the coronavirus crisis.

  • Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council are facing funding shortfalls due to coronavirus. 
  • They are trying to keep vital services running against a backdrop of years of funding cuts.
  • The councils are predicting shortfalls of tens of millions of pounds each.  

The pandemic has left both Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council digging deeper into their pockets to keep their vital services running against a backdrop of years of funding cuts.

And although the authorities have been promised their share of an additional £1.6billion in government funding – it remains unclear how much they will each get and whether it will be enough for them to cope with continuing pressure on local services.

North Yorkshire County Council – which is responsible for services including social care, roads and education – is expecting to be £65million worse off than anticipated before the pandemic began.

Whilst it has already received a £15million government grant, the council will still be left with a £50million shortfall.

Councillor Carl Les
Councillor Carl Les

Council leader Carl Les said:

“We greatly appreciate that Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been listening to us.

“He has taken on board that we urgently need additional funding for the crucial role we are playing in pulling communities together and building trust among people to fight the pandemic and for that we are thankful.

“We don’t yet know the size of this additional allocation for the county council but this extra funding will undoubtedly help to bridge the gap.

“Nevertheless we still face massive financial challenges and we estimated that the original allocation of £15millon of grant for covid-19 needed to be quadrupled to deal with the estimated costs.”

Harrogate Borough Council is expecting to be around £10million short of cash to fund its services in 2020/2021. The vast majority of this is in lost income from its leisure facilities and car parks, as well as the impact on business rates and council tax income.

Councillor Richard Cooper
Councillor Richard Cooper

Council leader Richard Cooper said:

“Our cash flow has been hit hard and it is difficult to know the long-term impact of that.  What I can say though is that we will continue to prioritise spending on front line services, on our retail centres, on community facilities, on the homeless and those at risk of homelessness and on supporting the voluntary organisations that make our area the special place it is.”