City of York Council has agreed its budget for 2021/22 following a meeting of full Council last night (25 February).
This year’s council budget has been agreed in the context of the unprecedented financial challenges caused by the pandemic. It aims to stabilise the authority’s financial position and continue the investment in frontline services, social care, and accelerate York’s ambition to build back better.
Over the last year, demand for council services has increased, and at the same time, income has significantly fallen as a result of the pandemic. Whilst the Government has provided some financial support, it doesn’t not go far enough to cover the gap caused by falling income and increasing costs, meaning the Council had faced a significant budget gap of over £15 million next year.
Recognising the current economic challenges and support needed for local residents, the council is increasing its total spending by £2.6 million on adult social care and support for children and young people, whilst investing additional resources to protect frontline services and to accelerate the city’s economic recovery.
To continue this work to build back better, the 2021/22 budget includes a £3.5 million Covid Recovery Fund, so that the council can continue to fund vital services for local residents and businesses.
The authority will also continue its £600 million capital investment programme to accelerate the city’s economic recovery, whilst continuing to support local residents, businesses and communities.
In order to balance the books, the Council is having to deliver savings and efficiencies totalling £7.9 million. Councillors also approved plans to increase the basic element of council tax by 1.99%, with an additional 3% increase to provide £2.5m dedicated support for adult social care services, in line with the government’s suggested social care precept.
This will bring the local authority’s element of Council Tax for a Band C property to £1,290.99, an increase of £61.36 on 2020/21.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council, said:
In setting this year’s budget, we recognised the need to balance the Council’s books in the face of unprecedented challenges, to ensure we can continue providing crucial services which are needed now more than ever.
In order to continue providing support to residents and businesses, we have also proposed the creation of a new £3.5 million Covid Recovery Fund for the city, including targeted and comprehensive support to those on the lowest incomes, strengthening mental health support locally, as well as incentives and direct support to local businesses who continue to face major challenges.
“With the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic expected to last well into next year, these proposals would see us continue delivering on our resident’s priorities - investing in social care, protecting frontline services and accelerating a sustainable and inclusive recovery.”
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:
Despite the huge financial challenges we face, this year’s budget continues our previous investments in initiatives to tackle climate change, maintain and improve the city’s road and sustainable travel infrastructure and update our Local Transport Plan. It will enable us to continue to look to the city’s future, as we continue to support residents and businesses on the road to recovery.