Children’s centres at risk across North Yorkshire

Editorial image
Editorial image

Children’s centres and libraries across the district could shut as North Yorkshire County Council continues its bid to make savings of £73million.

Councillors yesterday agreed at a full meeting to launch a review of library and early years provision, as well as slashing £750,000 from the winter mainteneance budget, and raising council tax by 1.99 per cent.

The 72 politicians met to discuss recommendations made by the council’s executive earlier this month.

Among the proposals agreed were a spend of £5million on a programme of repairs and maintenance on the highways network.

The council is bidding to make £73million of savings over the coming years, representing a reduction in its spending power of 34 per cent.

The 1.99 per cent tax increase will provide income of around £4.6m.

The review of services is likely to result in the closure of some libraries and children’s centres, although the authority says front line work will be protected.

A council spokesperson said: “The savings represent a reduction in the council’s spending power of approximately 34 per cent at a time when the demand for the services it provides is continually rising.

“There has been, for example, a 75 per cent increase in child protection cases, and at the other end of the age-range, more than a quarter of the adult population of North Yorkshire is over the age of 65.

“Every year, the population of older people increases, and with it the demand for the care and support which the council provides.

“The council is preparing plans to deal with austerity measures which are likely to continue at least until the end of the decade.

“The programme – “2020 North Yorkshire” - envisages a smaller council, more flexible and agile, enabling and supporting others, particularly within local communities, to deliver for themselves, and providing strong leadership on issues which are important to the people of North Yorkshire.

“The savings already achieved have been overwhelmingly targeted at ‘back office’ and management structures. The council will continue to achieve efficiencies in these areas. The budget recommendations approved today will inevitably result in some front line services receiving less money. However the council will make every effort to protect the most vulnerable residents.”