A COUNCIL which has axed key services amid £171m budgetary cutbacks has warned its financial problems are not over, despite spending £7.4m less than its budget last year.

North Yorkshire County Council said “complacency was not on the agenda” as it still faced having to cut its annual budget by up to £15m and escalating pressures on its adult and social care budget.

Its deputy leader, Councillor Gareth Dadd, told a meeting of the authority’s executive the £7.4m underspend should be treated with “extreme caution” as £4.5m of it was a one-off windfall the council had not budgeted for and the remainder had already been accounted for in its savings target.

He said cuts to services meant the council now had the foundations to deliver what he hoped would be the “final lap of austerity”.

The Thirsk councillor said: “When you look at places like Northamptonshire, they chose I believe, not to get ahead of the curve, not to tackle those challenging issues - we’ve done just that, and therefore we are in a far better position to move forward. It is going to be more difficult.”

When asked if the council remained on track to achieve its required budget cutbacks, Cllr Dadd said: “We are on the right side of it.

“Whether we continue to be on the right side of it is another matter. The big challenge for Government is to sort out health and adult services funding. That - and it’s 40 per cent of our budget - could be the game-changer.”

He said the Tory-run council faced a headache funding health and adult services in the coming year, adding: “We are doing our best to grapple with those financial challenges.

“They are problems, there is no two ways about it.

“It’s now over to Government, of whatever colour it may be in the future, to come up with a robust, sustainable solution to this national problem. “