ANALYSIS published today of the financial case for a single council for North Yorkshire shows the model could save up to £252m over five years.

North Yorkshire County Council’s proposals to form one unitary authority have been examined by PWC. The council is publishing the findings today, ahead of revealing its full local government reorganisation bid early next week.

Since government ministers announced in the summer that to access a devolution deal for the county, the existing two-tier council structure must be scrapped, the county council and seven district and borough authorities have been drawing up rival proposals.

The county council has said a so-called super council to serve 600,000 residents, leaving City of York and its population of about 200,000 intact, is the best way forward to replace the current system.

However, the seven district leaders say the creation of two councils of roughly equal size, with about 400,000 residents on an east-west split, would maintain a more local element for services.

The analysis from PWC of the county council’s proposal says the single new council model would end duplication in a few months, saving £30m a year by cutting red tape and reducing senior management and elected member costs. In addition, by using the new council as a springboard for change, PWC say this saving could rise to between £50m and £67m a year, netting up to £252m at the end of the first five years.

Cllr Gareth Dadd, the county council’s executive member for resources and deputy leader, said: “We are presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity at a key moment in our history, as we battle to emerge from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. A unique chance to deliver very significant savings that will be ploughed back into frontline services, support enhanced local democracy and end the waste, which currently exists. Our bid maximises all the benefits and delivers those benefits more quickly. It is also the least disruptive.

“Our proposal represents a saving of up to £185 a year for every household in North Yorkshire which would be put back into service delivery. It would be negligent of us to not to chase down such an opportunity. No other bid can deliver the scale of savings in such a timeframe, while protecting nationally recognised services for the county’s most frail and vulnerable residents.”

The county council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, pictured below, added: “We have developed our own proposal using in-house expertise and our strong knowledge of the county, based on delivering services to every single resident here.

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"However, we have taken the sensible step of having our financial case validated by external experts, as the public would expect on such an important matter.”

Cllr Les added that he hoped both the county council’s proposal and that of the seven district and borough authorities would go forward for the Secretary of State’s consideration.

“It should be for Government to decide which is the strongest bid, not us, as we have said this from the start,” he said.

Gary Fielding, director of resources at the county council, said: “In addition to the direct financial benefits in the single new council modelling, there is added value linked to this proposal via the York and North Yorkshire partnership, which was announced last week.

“When we add in these opportunities we believe the scale of savings opportunities could be significantly in excess of £70m per annum.

“Savings of this scale would have a massive impact, given the enormous financial pressures being faced by councils across North Yorkshire, particularly in adult and children’s services.”

The county council’s bid will go to the authority’s executive and full council before the Government undertakes formal consultation on the proposals ministers feel meet their criteria.