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Council Says Services Hit by COVID-19 Funding Shortfall.

Council Says Services Hit by COVID-19 Funding Shortfall.

Published by Matthew Pells at 4:17pm 29th April 2020.

North Yorkshire County Council has today warned that its ability to deliver social care and other essential services to meet the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis has been severely hampered by the fact that its share of a national funding pot is only half of the additional cash it is having to spend.

Although the Government’s announcement of an additional £1.6bn fund for councils nationally to meet the extra costs of tackling Covd-19 was welcomed by the County Council, it says North Yorkshire’s share of the cash has been reduced compared to previous allocations.

The Authority says that despite the fact it is spending an additional £65m to tackle Covid-19, it has only been allocated £26m of Government funding.

County Council leader Cllr Carl Les said:

“There is clearly a need for further funding or there will inevitably be an impact upon the crucial services we provide and to the wider economy including our supply chain. We will simply not be able to provide the levels of local support we believe need to be in place in response to a global pandemic."

The County Council says that in England’s shire counties (which operate two-tier government), district councils have received 35% of the new resources, while representing 10% of service expenditure. 

The Authority says that

"while this funding for districts is welcome as many say they are in severe danger of running out of money due to the pandemic, the County Council believes this should not be at the expense of county authorities which run social care and are providing vital support to the NHS."

Cllr Les added:

“I am pleased for our district council colleagues that they have secured some valuable additional funding but I am extremely disappointed that this has been at the expense of the County Council. We provide the essential care services that are helping to protect the NHS along with our partners in the care market and this will undoubtedly restrict our ability to do what we think are the right things.

I fear some county councils will find themselves in very difficult circumstances as they will not be able to bridge this gap. North Yorkshire County Council has managed its finances well by tackling its savings early and decisively so we will be able to weather this storm, but we will inevitably now have to revisit some of our plans for investment in the future as the impact is so great and there will be little room for flexibility.”

North Yorkshire says it has worked rapidly to transform services to meet the crisis, setting up emergency school hubs for the children of critical workers, supporting the NHS and care providers to cope with their increased costs, sourcing additional PPE, coordinating an army of volunteers and creating a new way of working for frontline social care teams, but that

"even before this crisis North Yorkshire, as England’s largest county desperately needed clarity around long-term funding solutions, particularly for adult social care and special educational needs, in the face of unrelenting demand."

North Yorkshire’s financial planning has been dependent on nearly £62 million of temporary funding after the Council lost around £136 million in direct grants from government since 2011 when austerity began. 

Together with the overall savings North Yorkshire has had to deliver and the rise in demand, the council says it' spending power has been reduced by 40 per cent. 

Cllr Les said:

“We were already operating with reduced spending power so there is no doubt that we like many other councils need the right level of support from Government for the crucial role we play and to see this crisis through.”

 

 

Comments

There are 2 comments on this page.

zara, on 29th April 2020 9:33pm
Here we go, just wait for an emergency council tax rise!
Graham Irving, on 30th April 2020 2:36pm
With a wages bill of over £1.5 million for the 12 senior directors and heads of whatever, why don't they all take a pay cut and do there bit to help the counties finances.

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