2022/23 Council Budget: Updated proposals revealed with unprecedented investment in social care


The Liberal Democrat and Green administration have unveiled budget proposals for the 2022-23 financial year, with a key focus of supporting the most vulnerable in the city.

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The proposals, set to be debated at the Council Executive on the 7th February, will see further investment in children and adult social care of £9.2million and extra targeted support to ease the cost of living crisis, including a fuel voucher scheme, mental health support, pupil catch up programmes and extended financial assistance schemes through the Covid Recovery Fund.

 

Consecutive years of reduced government funding has now been compounded by the challenges brought about by the pandemic, leaving City of York Council facing a significant budget gap of over £9.1 million next year. York is not unique in these challenges, as the Local Government Association predicts that Councils in England will face a funding gap of more than £5 billion by 2024 to maintain services at current levels.

 

Despite this, key to this year’s budget proposals is the significant £9.2million spending increase in adult and children social care, recognising the rise in demand for services and the Government’s failure to get to grips with the care crisis.

 

The Covid Recovery Fund will focus on targeting investment directly to projects and services which would support residents and communities in the aftermath of the pandemic. The fund will include:

 

  • £200k for Covid-19 recovery efforts across local communities
  • £150k to assist households via the York Financial Assistance Fund, helping residents on the lowest incomes mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic;
  • £100k to support local school holiday Hunger initiatives;
  • £100k to support the outcomes of the Education Futures Plan, education recovery strategy addressing the disruption caused by the pandemic on pupils;
  • £50k to provide sustainable travel incentives to build back confidence in public transport;
  • £250k to provide additional low-level Mental Health Support, particularly to the elderly and those experiencing isolation, with the aim of reducing the need for NHS services;
  • £50k to support businesses during recovery including grants, information and networking;
  • £50k to secure further investment and future employment opportunities in the city, including the ongoing Devolution negotiations and bid for York to become the home of Great British Rail and Devolution 

 

Further targeted support is also proposed to support residents with the lowest incomes by, for example investing £50k to extend the winter fuel voucher scheme.

 

Whilst the transformational £459m capital investment programme will continue key city regeneration projects, improve the city’s road network and infrastructure, tackle the climate emergency, accelerate the delivery of flood defences and deliver affordable housing across the city.

 

 

Councillor Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council, commented:

 

“This budget recognises the financial reality facing councils, as the Government fails to live up to their promises of levelling up, fixing social care and supporting local services - instead passing on another tax bombshell to local communities in York and across the country.

 

“Despite this, we have put together proposals to continue to invest in protecting the most vulnerable across the city, both through significant investment in adult and children social care, as well as through targeted support for those struggling with finances, mental health or loneliness.

 

“Whilst this remains a challenging time, these proposals see us invest in what we know matters to our communities – from looking after the most vulnerable and those needing some extra support, to looking after our roads, infrastructure, environment and businesses.”

 

 

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance, added:

 

“Despite York remaining at the bottom of central Government spending tables and many other Labour and Conservative councils preparing for significant cuts, this administration is putting residents and communities first and continuing investment in key services which are needed now more than ever.

 

“The £9.3million investment in adult and children social care is central to our proposals, recognising the rise in demand for services and the Government’s failure to get to grips with the care crisis. Following feedback from the public, we have also scaled back previously identified efficiencies in adult social care avoiding putting more pressure on the service at this difficult time. This investment will ensure that the city’s most vulnerable residents receive the care and support they need in their communities rather than through overstretched NHS services.

 

“It’s clear that for too long, councils have been expected to do more, with less – with the lowest-funded councils, such as York, feeling this pressure most acutely. Despite this, our budget proposals would see us continue to deliver on resident’s priorities - investing in social care, protecting frontline services and accelerating a sustainable and inclusive recovery.”

 

 

The full proposals can be found here


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