Senior councillors are set to be updated about the unforeseen financial pressures facing the city and the demand for services, which is affecting budgets in the current and next year.
The council’s Executive is considering a report which details how rising energy, fuel and food prices, inflationary increases in contracts, supplies and other expenses are making it difficult for the council to balance its budget, just as it is for individuals and households to balance theirs.
The ongoing cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on York residents. Latest estimates, presented during the York Cost of Living Summit, show that over 14,700 York households will experience poverty this year due to factors including low pay, and welfare reform along with the impact of high inflation and fuel costs.
Across the UK, local authorities are having to make incredibly difficult decisions to reduce spending and balance budgets. Leeds City Council, for example, is tackling additional budget pressures of £20.4million for this year, whilst it is estimated that the new North Yorkshire authority will start the next financial year with a £27 million deficit from the county council and the former seven district and borough councils, with inflation adding an additional £70 million to its costs.
Consecutive years of significant decline in funding from central government is now compounded by the challenges brought about by the pandemic, energy costs and rising inflation, leaving City of York Council facing a significant budget gap of £15million next year.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “We know that households across the city are facing huge financial challenges this winter. There is support available and we’re lobbying the Government for more. Last year, we paid some £37m to the residents who needed it most and we have another phase of the Household Support Fund being rolled out. We also have a long-term strategy to help people facing poverty.
“We continue to work to support residents and businesses in the short and long term, but it’s clear that the crisis is also significantly affecting the Council and its services. As seen nationally, the financial sustainability of councils is on a cliff-edge. This is having a direct impact on the services we as council deliver to our communities, from waste to care for the most vulnerable. As the cost and demand for services rise and our funding fails to keep pace, we are set to face tough decisions to ensure we can continue to support our residents and businesses.”
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of City of York Council, said: “The council and our partners are offering support and advice to help anyone with concerns to maximise their income, minimise outgoings and encouraging them to talk about money with trusted friends and family.
“That could mean checking your eligibility for benefits, like Pension Credit, which often unlock other funds such as help with Council Tax or fuel bills. It could mean applying for a Green Energy Funding grant from the council to help your home use less fuel to heat and stay warm, or getting tips and hints from York Energy Advice. Starting a conversation about money and how you can manage it with those you trust can help share the burden and reassure you that you’re not alone.”
Find out more about maximising your income, minimising what you spend and support with talking about money at www.livewellyork.co.uk/TalkMoney.