York council deputy leader: Budget cuts 'devastating'

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The latest cuts to local authority budgets are "devastating", according to the deputy leader of City of York Council Tracey Simpson-Laing.

A further 2% is to be withdrawn from the council's settlement by Whitehall following Wednesday's autumn statement by Chancellor George Osborne.

It means 30% of the council's projected government funding of £70.5m will be taken away over four years.

Up to 600 posts are in the process of being lost due to the cuts.

Labour leaders at City of York Council predict the latest cuts could affect frontline services such as sheltered housing and care for the elderly and disabled.

'Better off'

Councillor Simpson-Laing said: "The £600,000 to £700,000 extra on top of the cuts we were already expecting to make in the year 2014-15 is going to be devastating."

Councillor John Weighell, the leader of Conservative-run North Yorkshire County Council, said his authority could now be looking at another £2.5m shortfall - totalling almost £100m - since the government first announced its austerity plans in 2010.

The county council has previously predicted it will shed about 1,000 posts.

But Councillor Weighell said there was another side to the story: "In North Yorkshire they are better off because they have had no increase in council tax for the last three years and they probably won't have an increase next year."

Both councils said they would need more time to assess exactly how the cuts would affect them.

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