Residents of England’s largest county will have faced council tax demands rising by more than 40 per cent from one authority alone since before austerity.
Despite swingeing cuts to services, it emerged average bills payable to North Yorkshire County Council have increased by £412 since 2007 as its executive approved a 4.99 per cent rise for the coming year.
The increase – resulting in a Band D council tax level of £1,311 for the council in 2019/20 – would be equivalent to paying about £60 more to the authority over the year for an average household.
The council’s leadership said it had been forced to address further financial challenges ahead while protecting frontline services as it entered an ninth year of austerity.
County councillor Gareth Dadd, the council’s deputy leader and executive member for finance, said despite the proposed council tax increase and planned savings, due to spiralling demand for social care and those with special educational needs it was thought the council would be facing a black hole of £14m by 2022.
He said while the £14m sounded like a “frightening” prospect, he pledged the council would not panic by immediately cutting more services.
Cllr Dadd said: “As well as setting the council tax for this year we are taking action to identify solutions three years hence. We do that for one very good reason. The demand from vulnerable people within North Yorkshire and we must satisfy that demand.
“This year’s budget is really a secondary consideration. We have always taken as an authority a longer term view. I would strongly caution every member against not doing so again.
“Those authorities which did not are now reaping some disastrous consequences, Northamptonshire being a classic example. By being on the cusp of what is in effect bankruptcy it’s the most vulnerable residents of North Yorkshire that would have suffered. Our raison d’etre through this period of austerity has been to protect our most vulnerable members of society.”
Stuart Minting , Local Democracy Reporting Service