York and North Yorkshire Councils React After Spending Power Cut
4:43pm 20th December 2012
(Updated 5:33pm 20th December 2012)
The cut to North Yorkshire County Council’s government funding is worse even than anticipated.
The funding settlement announced by the Government yesterday results in a reduction in funding for the county council of £10.1M in 2013/14 and a further £12.1 in 2014/15 (5.9% and 7.6% reduction respectively).
The initial assessment therefore is that the cut is worse by £1.1m than we had anticipated.
This means that on top of the current £69 m four-year savings programme to 2014/15, the authority is now also looking at a deficit in the region of £24 million over the next two years instead of the £22 million anticipated, making a total reduction of £93m by 2014/15.
The council does not expect to have confirmation of its funding from central Government until January 2013, but consideration is already being given to where further reductions in spending might be made, because it will be necessary to begin implementing these reductions in April 2013.
“Our original task of finding £69m in savings posed very considerable challenges,” said County Councillor John Weighell, the Leader of the Council., “now we are having to make far greater savings and to a very short deadline. The first indication that the council would face cuts of this nature came in August, and we didn’t know the full scale of the savings until last month. Now we know the extent of the savings we have to make is even greater than we had feared.
“ More than half of the savings already made have come from reducing administration and bureaucracy. The council has done all it can to protect frontline services, and will continue to do so. However, we have now reached the stage where we will have to look at every service the council provides.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Alexander, leader of City of York Council said: “The settlement announced by government yesterday means that we are now looking at a cut of £4 million from our budget next year. We have already seen a 31 per cent cut in our funding since the general election. These cuts go way beyond making efficiencies, into service cuts that will unavoidably have a huge impact on the most vulnerable people in our society. The announced cut of over 10 per cent from our Council Tax Support, for those who need it most, demonstrates this clearly.
“There are still significant gaps in the information we have been provided, such as the Public Health figures now due to be issued in January. This gives us just one month in which we have all the information we need to make decisions on future services – hardly enough time to consult with our residents in the way they would expect. In light of these ongoing government funding reductions, all of our services are now under consideration".
Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council said: “The impact of these cuts cannot be underestimated. Since the general election we have already cut 40 per cent of our senior management costs and 33 per cent of our administration costs. We have made all of our services more cost efficient, saving £42 million over the last three years.”
“The leader and I took part in a teleconference this morning with 200 other council representatives and Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis MP. We have requested a meeting with the Minister in the New Year to discuss York’s settlement and our concerns with this.”
City of York Council’s government grant and business rates funding total £58.1million in 2013/14.
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