Search site

Craven District Council given extra Government cash to reduce impact of funding cuts

Craven has been recognised by the Government as one of the areas worst hit by funding cuts - and has been given extra grants to help.

The council will still have to make major savings - but the Government has increased the Rural Grants given to councils which have to provide services in rural, sparse areas.

Craven's Rural Grant has gone up from £69,000 to £278,000, while a 'transition grant', given to local authorities most affected by the reduction in their funding, has also been awarded, of £21,000 for two years.

The council has also been given the option of increasing council tax by £5 per residential property, per year - a rise of around 3.3 per cent. The rise would equate to less than ten pence per week and would follow five years of freezing council tax. The council has previously been told it must keep council tax rises under 2 per cent. An increase of 1.99 per cent would lead to a rise of £3.03 per residential property, per year.

If councillors agreed to the £5 increase, this would produce an extra £43,000 towards council services.

Councillor Richard Foster, leader of Craven District Council, said: "We welcome this recognition of the struggle faced by local authorities due to funding cuts, particularly rural councils such as Craven. This releases some of the extreme pressure felt by the council this year.

"However, we still face significant financial pressures over the next few years and we still face the challenge of delivering major income and savings. This transitional funding is only in place for two years, while councils' revenue support grants are being phased out completely.

"We will consider the option to increase council tax by £5 per dwelling, per year, and a decision will be made as part of the budget-setting process."

In his announcement, Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "I recognise the particular costs of providing services in sparse rural areas.

So I propose to increase by more than fivefold the Rural Services Delivery Grant from £15.5 million this year to £80.5 million in 2016 to 2017.

"I have also, at the request of rural councils, helped the most economical authorities by allowing them to charge a de minimis £5 more a year in Council Tax without triggering a referendum."

The LGA said it was pleased there would be extra money to ease the effects of funding cuts but that councils would still face financial challenges.

LGA chairman Lord Porter said: "The LGA has been working hard with the government on behalf of all councils - both publicly and privately - to highlight the financial challenges they face over the next few years.

"We are pleased it has listened to our fundamental call for new money to be found to smooth out funding reductions for some councils in 2016-17 and beyond without any other councils losing out further as a result.

"Funding reductions will still be challenging for councils over the next four years. Any extra cost pressures will have to be funded by councils finding savings from elsewhere."