A COUNCIL tax hike of nearly five per cent is on the cards across North Yorkshire with a similar increase next year councillors have been warned.

The moves will mean an average rise of £60 a year to £1,248 for the majority of homeowners with Band D properties. This is for county council services only, with further increases for police, fire and town and district councils due.

The county council's Chief Executive Richard Flinton and Corporate Director Gary Fielding have outlined the increases in a report to the authority’s Executive committee.

They say the council has lost over a third of its spending power since government cuts were introduced in 2011, saving £142m so far and with a further £44m to be cut by 2021/2022. The authority has so far earmarked an extra £33m in savings up to that time but is expected to need at least £10m more which they're struggling to identify.

The proposed increases are made up of 2.99 per cent across the board, with an extra two per cent for adult social care, and are in line with government restrictions. If the authority tried to impose bigger increases a referendum would have to be held. The council has already protested to the government over budget restrictions warning it is spending over 42 per cent on social care for adult and vulnerable people, around £186m annually, with a £3m shortfall this year alone. The authority has called for an urgent and long term solution to the issue.

Mr Flinton and Mr Fielding argue: "This Budget /Medium Term Financial Strategy report is predicated on a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax for the launch of the consultation in summer of 2018 when there should be a further national debate about how the country seeks to find a sustainable solution to the funding of care for the ageing population.

"This has been a wicked issue for some time and it is deemed highly unlikely that there will be any “solution” that will impact upon the current medium term financial strategy time horizon."

The budget for this year is £361m with a further grant of £415.5m for schools which is ring fenced by the government so it cannot be spent on other services.

The officers add:" The Council are aware that raising the council tax to 4.99 per cent will have an adverse impact upon household budgets particularly for those of working age with protected characteristics, such as disability and gender. In the current financial climate, however, a lower council tax increase would require even greater cuts to frontline services. It is likely that the impact will be minimal for most households as council tax does not constitute a large proportion of outgoings."

They say a 4.99 per cent increase is also expected next year.