East Riding of Yorkshire Council set budget for next financial year

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has  set a budget for the next financial year (1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010) of £257.1 million, which requires a council tax at Band D of £1,194.29, an increase of £44.83 or 3.9 per cent.

Pocklington Town Council has already announced council tax increases of 2.5% making a band ‘D’  £67.17 an increase of £1.65p per year.

A spokesperson for ERYC said ‘As in previous years, there have been budget pressures arising from increased demand for essential front-line services, such as providing care and support for a growing elderly population and protecting vulnerable children and young people for whom the council is responsible. An additional £10.9 million will be spent for adult services over the next three years’.

Another pressure is the on-going work to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill and achieve at least 45% recycling target by 2015. In 2009/10, the brown bin scheme for the collection of garden waste will be extended to all parts of the East Riding.

The council is also directing additional resources to support priorities which were agreed at the autumn budget conferences or through other consultations with the council’s partners. These include an extra half-a-million pounds for the youth service over the next two years, more funding for the extended schools’ service, an additional £1 million in contingencies for an increase in road and footway maintenance, and funding to keep down cost increases for pensioners using the council’s enhanced concessionary bus travel scheme.

“The budget is based on sound financial management which was one of the reasons why I was able to announce many weeks ago that any council tax increases would be capped at 4 per cent to give people some security at this very difficult time for the economy.

“I personally would have liked a council tax increase below 3.9 per cent but the council faces some very challenging financial issues which are beyond our control.

“For example, the council got a 4.9 per cent increase in Government grant for 2009/10, which was better than average, but needed to meet extra costs such as caring for the increasing number of older people.

“However, the grant system claws back money from councils which have done well to support those receiving the smallest increases, with the result that the East Riding has actually lost £7.8 million in grant.

“An additional problem for the council has been rising costs for things like energy and fuel, together with a decrease in income, because of the economic downturn, earned from services like car parks and planning fees.”

The council’s financial position is also heavily influenced by relative underfunding through central government grant. Around four fifths of all available funding comes from Government grant and the council continues to be funded at a level considerably below the national average, receiving around £100 less per person than the average for similar councils. Similarly, the East Riding’s schools, which are achieving above average performance outcomes, are near the bottom for grant funding with per pupil funding some £300 below the average. The budget for schools is determined by a ring-fenced grant set by the Government.

Councillor Parnaby said: “Rural authorities such as the East Riding are underfunded and the situation is continuing to get worse whilst the current system of funding is skewed against us.

“As a result, all our residents are expected to and indeed do pay more because of circumstances outside our control. In reality, East Riding council taxpayers are subsidising many other areas of the country – particularly large metropolitan and urban areas.”

An extremely positive outcome from the 2009/10 budget is that the East Riding will again be delivering a capital programme of around £90 million each year over the next three years. which will result in further good improvements to essential infrastructure like roads, housing and schools. The total capital programme since the council’s inception in 1996 now totalS more than £600 million – a superb achievement.

The council is also hopeful that separate Government funding will be made available over the next few years to improve and upgrade secondary schools under the Building Schools for the Future programme.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council council tax figures for 2009/10 are set out below (2008/09 in brackets) to which amounts need to be added for the precept requirements of the Humberside Police and Fire authorities and parish and town councils.

Band A £796.19 (£766.31); Band B £928.89 (£894.02); Band C £1061.59 (£1021.74); Band D £1194.29 (£1149.46); Band E £1459.69 (£1404.90): Band F £1725.09 ( £1660.33); Band G £1990.48 (£1915.77); Band H £2388.58 (£2298.92). 

The formal council tax resolution will be deferred until the Full Council meeting on 25th February when the Police and Fire authority precepts will be known. All council tax payers pay separate levies made by the Humberside Police and Fire authorities which are collected but not controlled by this council.