County council to set aside £34 million for devolution transition


Last updated Aug 23, 2021

North Yorkshire County Council is to earmark £34 million to fund a transition to a new super authority.

Secretary of State Robert Jenrick made the seismic decision last month to abolish the eight councils in North Yorkshire and set up a unitary authority for the entire county.

A consultants report written by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the county council showed the new authority will cover 618,000 people and could cost up to £38 million to set up.

As a result, council officials have now recommended setting up a transition fund. Other authorities who have been replaced by a new council have faced costs over staffing, IT replacement and refurbishment of council-owned property.

A report due before senior county councillors next Tuesday (August 31) outlines the sources of funding.

A total of £34.2 million is to be set aside by the authority, but contributions will be requested from the remaining seven districts.

The council said it will pay for the fund partly through its covid reserve, which stands at £20.5 million.

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Officials had set up the covid fund to help pay for any losses incurred by the pandemic. However, it has now received funding from government to help cover those costs.

A report due before county councillors said:

“In reality, receipts were much more buoyant and the government later announced a grant scheme to compensate for these losses on top of our internal provision. 

“The whole of this reserve is therefore available as funding towards the transitional costs.”

A total of £10 million from the council’s corporate contingency budget and £946,000 from other reserves will also be used, as well as £2.8 million budgeted from this financial quarter.

The move to a single council for the entirety of North Yorkshire is set to come into force by April 2023.

Letters published by the government showed that Mr Jenrick rejected an alternative proposal for two councils because it would have been too risky and was not “credible” geographically.

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The covid rate in the district now stands at 455 infections per 100,000 people, this has fallen from 483 yesterday.

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