East Riding council takes £9m reserves to pay for elderly care

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NEARLY £9m reserves will be used to help a Yorkshire council meet the rising costs of caring for an ageing population.

East Riding councillors are set to agree a £252m budget today which includes a freeze in council tax for the fifth successive year.

It will mean a Band D householder continuing to pay £1212, excluding police, fire service and parish costs.

Despite having to save £120m since 2009, the council says it is investing £370m in a four-year capital investment programme.

However more than £8.8m will come from the adult services reserve, to meet the rising demand for services from older and vulnerable adults and increased costs, another £770,000 from the children’s social care reserve, and more than £800,000 from two other reserves.

Tickets for attractions like Sewerby Hall and library charges are set to rise by one to 1.25 per cent to raise an extra £589,000 over four years.

Labour said they objected to £3-a-week increases in council rents and were “amazed” at how millions of pounds of reserves could appear from the “dark side of the settee.”

A spokesman said: “We have ‘no money’ then suddenly we can dip into millions of pounds of reserves. Tenants have already suffered from the bedroom tax and we don’t have enough accommodation to put people into smaller units.”

Council leader Steve Parnaby said they had avoided “knee-jerk” reactions because of prudent financial management and a workforce “who have always had to do more with less”.

Tackling the “totally inaccurate perception that the council is somehow getting off lightly”, he added: “It isn’t, we have received the same percentage cut in funding as every other local authority.”

Meanwhile, councillors in Kirklees have agreed a budget proposal to go to full council which will see Council Tax rise by just under two per cent, excluding police, fire and parish costs. Kirklees housing rents are set to rise 2.2 per cent.