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Plans to increase council tax

Plans to increase council tax

Published at 8:15am 3rd February 2015. (Updated at 10:45am 4th February 2015)

North Yorkshire's households are facing higher council tax bills in the next year.

An increase of just under 2% is being recommended as North Yorkshire County Council deals with the challenge of delivering services following "unprecedented" funding cuts.

If the recommendation is accepted by councillors later this month, it would produce extra income of around £4.8 million.

However, the authority would still need to take more than £1.6 million from its reserves, whilst making savings of around £22 million in the next financial year.

Since 2011, it has implemented and made plans for total spending cuts of around £170 million.

A programme of savings totalling £91 million has already been completed.

Council bosses say the reduction in spending power comes at a time when demand for services is continually rising, particularly in adult social care.

Councillor John Weighell, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: "We have said for a long time that places like North Yorkshire suffer significant financial penalties because of their very rural nature, and that those penalties are not adequately recognised in support from central government.

"This analysis provides evidence of the cost differential, and to be honest it is a staggering amount. At a time when we are making tough decisions about issues such as the council tax, this analysis demonstrates why, for North Yorkshire, this process is such a difficult and complex task.

"Because austerity measures must continue, the County Council has set in train its 2020 North Yorkshire programme which has required radically new ways of thinking and innovative policy-making around the delivery of services. The County Council has worked hard through this programme to make sure that frontline services are prioritised by reducing back office, management and administrative posts.

"And while we are doing all these things, we continue to invest in the future. So we have earmarked one-off funding of £4 million for 2015/16 and have helped to create a £31 million pot for Superfast North Yorkshire to create 90% superfast broadband coverage for the county.

"We have also created an additional £50 million pot for highways maintenance to help implement over 1,000 highway maintenance schemes and to fill in approximately 200,000 potholes."

The 2020 North Yorkshire programme also prioritises support for the most vulnerable people.

With a growing elderly population, Extra Care housing schemes have been completed in Settle, Thirsk and Eastfield.

The council's budget for 2015/16 will be set on 18 February.