North Yorkshire County Council says funding for coronavirus response does not cover half of costs

The leader of North Yorkshire County Council has warned that it is spending an extra £65 million during the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s leader Cllr Carl Les said that the £26 million in funding it has been given by the government so far will not even cover half of the cost of the measures it was having to take.

Under a new £1.6 billion funding allocation, the county authority was given approximately £11 million, but its overall share of the funding was reduced.

Cllr 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.

County Hall, Northallerton. JPI Media

“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.”

In England’s shire counties which operate two-tier government, district councils have received 35% of the new resources.

The county council says while the extra funding for borough councils is “welcome” it says it believes it should “not be at the expense” of authorities like itself, which runs social care and is providing 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.”

Under the new funding arrangement, Scarborough Council was given just under £1.1 million after getting just £75,000 in the first block of grants.

Scarborough’s deputy leader, Cllr Liz Colling, also said her council would be needing more money in the future as it had earmarked £500,000 just to meet government requirements around homelessness during the pandemic.

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