THE leader of one of the country's smallest district councils has called for a shake-up in the way local government is funded.

Ryedale District Council leader Councillor Alan Farnaby while proposing no increase in the authority's tax for the coming year, said the "colossal" increase of 76 per cent in North Yorkshire Police Authority's precept and an 11.5 per cent rise for North Yorkshire County Council would hurt many people in the district.

Coun Farnaby said the council had passed on to taxpayers its windfall in business rates for Ryedale House and the benefit of the 11.5 per cent rise in money from the Government. But even so, he said, Ryedale households would still be faced with a rise of more than 15 per cent because of the precept rises.

He said: "We have consulted our electorate and we have asked all departments of the council to make cuts."

The authority had acted in a responsible manner, he said: "But there has got to be an end to these annual increases. They are really hurting people on fixed incomes, of whom there are many in Ryedale.

"There has got to be a better way of funding local government but, as a council, we have certainly been honest and responsible in levying no increase."