COUNCIL TAXPAYERS in North Yorkshire are facing a four per cent rise in their bills as the county tries to meet the soaring cost of caring for the elderly.
The county has called on the Government to look at social care costs when council budgets are finalised next month after Chancellor Philip Hammond failed to offer extra money in this week’s Autumn Statement.
Yorkshire councils have repeatedly complained they are struggling to meet the growing demand for care as the number of older people in the region grows at the same time as local authority funding shrinks.
Councils have been told they must be able to fund themselves through council tax and business rates by 2020 as the Government removes funding from Whitehall as part of its austerity drive.
The Government has stopped authorities from raising council tax by more than two per cent without a public referendu,, a measure which effectively caps any increases.
Last year, then chancellor George Osborne allowed councils to add a further two per cent to bills annually if the money was spent on social care.
North Yorkshire has indicated it is likely to increase bills by the maximum amount permitted in April.
Councils across Yorkshire are expected to follow suit.
North Yorkshire County Councuil Carl Les said: “The apparent lack of extra money for social care funding in the Autumn statement means services will be even more stretched.
“Recent care market studies show that North Yorkshire is already at a place where the rest of the country will be in 2020, with demand for services and demographic trends five years ahead of the national average.
“In a large rural county like ours the cost of delivering services to sparse populations is also significantly higher than for councils with compact, urban populations.
“I am calling on the Government to address this issue in the settlement next month when we find out how much money will come to local councils.”
The county will not formally set its council tax until the New Year and has launched a consultation on its budget.
North Yorkshire is a two-tier area, meaning council tax bills will also be made up of district council costs and precepts covering the police and fire service as well as charges set by parish and town councils.