NORTH Yorkshire County Council has warned that its ability to deliver social care and other essential services during the Covid-19 crisis has been hampered by a funding deficit.

Although the Government’s announcement of an additional £1.6bn fund for councils nationally to meet the extra costs of tackling Covid-19 was welcomed by the county council, North Yorkshire’s share of the cash has been reduced compared to previous allocations.

Despite the fact the council is spending an additional £65m to tackle Covid-19, it has only been allocated £26m of Government funding.

Council leader Carl Les said: “There is clearly a need for further funding or there will inevitably be an impact upon the crucial services we provide and to the wider economy including our supply chain.

“We will simply not be able to provide the levels of local support we believe need to be in place in response to a global pandemic.”

In England’s shire counties which operate two-tier government, district councils have received 35 per cent of the new resources, while representing 10 per cent of service expenditure.

While this funding for districts is welcome as many say they are in financial danger due to the pandemic, the county council believes this should not be at the expense of county authorities which run social care and support to the NHS.

Cllr Les added: “I am pleased for our district council colleagues that they have secured some valuable additional funding but I am extremely disappointed that this has been at the expense of the county council.

“We provide the essential care services that are helping to protect the NHS along with our partners in the care market and this will undoubtedly restrict our ability to do what we think are the right things.

“I fear some county councils will find themselves in very difficult circumstances as they will not be able to bridge this gap.

“North Yorkshire County Council has managed its finances well by tackling its savings early and decisively so we will be able to weather this storm, but we will inevitably now have to revisit some of our plans for investment in the future as the impact is so great and there will be little room for flexibility.”

The council has worked rapidly to transform services to meet the crisis, setting up emergency school hubs for the children of critical workers, supporting the NHS and care providers, sourcing additional PPE, coordinating volunteers and creating a new way of working for frontline social care teams.

Even before this crisis, North Yorkshire, as England’s largest county, desperately needed clarity around long-term funding solutions, particularly for adult social care and special educational needs, in the face of unrelenting demand.

Its financial planning has been dependent on nearly £62 million of temporary funding after the Council lost around £136 million in direct grants from government since 2011 when austerity began.