Information - Let's Talk Money 2023


Information - Let's Talk Money 2023

The following information is to help inform your answers to the Let’s Talk Money survey. The survey is designed to help us understand how you think we should spend the money we have available. 


You can skip straight to the survey on our Commonplace survey page and refer back to this information if you need to, as you go through the survey.

North Yorkshire Council now provides all of your local services from rubbish collection and recycling to public health and education, roads, transport and leisure services as well as support for businesses.

Like all councils, and many of you, we are facing major financial challenges from the cost-of-living crisis and inflation. We are also experiencing a big increase in demand for services like adult social care and support for children and young people with special educational needs.

By bringing 8 councils together to form one new one on 1 April 2023, we are better placed to face the future. By April 2024 we predict we will have saved £5 million just by coming together, and there are lots more opportunities to save money that we are already working on.

Despite the tough financial climate we are ambitious for you and the thousands of businesses that call North Yorkshire home.

We have already developed a strong economic strategy which will drive clean growth here and provide better opportunities for employment and skills. 

We are bidding for a Local Visitor Economy Partnership which will ensure we make the most of our natural assets and cultural offer, raise the profile of our fantastic places to boost the visitor economy and, of course, our unique food and drink offer. 

We are also ensuring the Government understands what we need here through our devolution deal and establishing a mayoral-led combined authority. We will not rest until we have the best opportunities possible for you and this county.

There’s no doubt there are some huge challenges ahead but we want to work with you to face them. If we all work together we can build a stronger North Yorkshire. Please help us by having a say in the Let’s Talk Money survey on how we spend the money we have available.

We set out the council’s priorities in our Council Plan which  can be found on our website. We will use your feedback to inform the next Council Plan for 2024-2028 as well as our budget for 2024-25.

The council spends about £1.2 billion each year to deliver services to people and businesses.

  • 380 schools serving more than 80,000 pupils.  
  • The collection of around 325,000 tonnes of waste from around 274,000 households of which 45 per cent is reused, recycled or composted.   
  • Maintaining over 9,250 kilometres of highways and with direct responsibility for 6,100 kilometres of public rights of way, and 1,645 bridges.  
  • Managing and maintaining 8,300 council houses.   
  • Processing about 60,000 housing benefit changes every year.   
  • Providing about 27,000 hours of personal care to over 4,300 people, enabling them to live in their own homes.  
  • Providing 10,000 children and young people with special educational needs support.   
  • Making more than 6,800 decisions on planning applications.   
  • Providing 28 leisure centres including 16 swimming pools.   
  • Supporting 3,200 people in residential or nursing care.   
  • And supporting more than 2,300 children and young people via our children and families service.  

The council is also responsible for delivering some big financial investments to ensure our county continues to thrive, has a strong local economy and resilient communities, and supports a good quality of life for all.

  • Vital upgrades to infrastructure, for example the creation of a new stretch of the A59 at Kex Gill costing a total of £68.8 million. (The Government has provided £56.1 million with the remaining £12.7 million allocated from North Yorkshire Council’s capital reserves).  
  • Harrogate Leisure and Wellness Centre which has reopened following a £13.5 million renovation.  
  • New schools, such as a new £3.5 million development on the site of the former Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate and the new primary school to serve new houses in north Northallerton.  
  • A £2.49 million overhaul of North Yorkshire’s streetlights as part of a commitment to reduce energy use and tackle climate change. The anticipated savings are £440,000 with a payback period of about five-and-a-half years.
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure - £3.2 million secured for North Yorkshire, which will pay for 150 charge points.

More information about council tax and the survey last year is available on the next four pages.


Council tax

A council operations officer emptying a wheelie bin into a waste truck

Council tax is now by far the most important source for funding the services provided by North Yorkshire Council. Annual increases have been a key part of meeting the challenges of inflation and higher demand.

Each year central government sets a maximum % increase. This is known as the referendum limit because if a council wishes to raise council taxes beyond this limit it is required to hold a referendum of its residents. In reality, the costs and practicalities of this means that the Government maximum effectively acts as a ceiling on any increases at a local level.

As well as the basic council tax the government has, in recent years, recognised the particularly acute pressures on adult social care by allowing councils to levy an Adult Social Care Precept. This is a special charge on the council tax and any income generated from this must be spent on adult social care services. This is also subject to a referendum limit.

We don’t yet know what the referendum limits will be for 2024/25.

We ask you how much more you would be willing to pay for your council tax every year - by taking part in Let’s Talk Money your views will be taken into account.


Council tax harmonisation

Before the creation of North Yorkshire Council the seven borough and district councils all charged different amounts for basic council tax. However, by law, North Yorkshire Council must set a single base level for council tax. 

In recognition of the potential short-term issues with this, the government allows councils that have been through local government reorganisation, like North Yorkshire Council, an extended period to harmonise these levels.

To get the right balance of fairness for everyone, councillors agreed to harmonise the council tax levels over a period of two financial years starting from 1 April 2023. This two-year approach was supported by 51% of our residents who took part in last year’s Let’s Talk Money survey.  This means that from April 2025 all council taxpayers on the same band will pay the same basic council tax irrespective of which area of the county the property is in.

This means that in 2024/25 there will be a second (and final) year of different increases in council tax dependent on which former district or borough council area the property is in. Those former district areas that were below the average (for example Hambleton) will pay a higher % increase and those above the average (e.g. Scarborough) will be subject to a lower increase.

To illustrate this:

Hambleton Band D council tax 2023/24 
Scarborough Band D council tax 2023/24 
Overall North Yorkshire Band D council tax 2023/24

Any increase in council tax levels is based on the average. 

So if council tax levels went up by, for example, 3% the new Band D council tax would be: £1759.98 + 3% = £1812.37.

This would mean an increase of £35.14 (or 1.98%) for Scarborough (£1812.37 - £1777.23)

But an increase of £97.24 (or 5.67%) for Hambleton (£1812.37 - £1715.13).

The equivalent increases for the other areas based on an example 3% increase would be: 

An annual increase of £63.37 (or 3.62%)
An annual increase of £29.20 (1.64%)
An annual increase of £44.48 (2.52%)
An annual increase of £55.56 (3.16%)
An annual increase of £65.37 (3.74%)

In subsequent years increases would apply equally to all areas.

Find out more on the North Yorkshire Council website about council tax and how it is spent.


You said, we did

In February 2023, we agreed a budget for 2023/24 after we asked North Yorkshire residents to help us decide how to manage and prioritise our finances as part of our annual budget consultation. We received more than 2,650 contributions to Let’s Talk Money last year.

You told us:  

You supported our proposed approach of harmonising council tax rates over a two-year period from 1 April 2023 (Slightly more than half of you (51%) agreed with two years, while 21% of you wanted this to happen sooner and 19% wanted it to take longer). 

We have done this and the base level for council tax for 2024/25 will be the same for the whole of North Yorkshire.

You agreed with our proposals to introduce a 100% council tax premium for second homeowners in North Yorkshire (79% of you agreed while 14% disagreed).

We had hoped to be able to introduce this from 1 April 2024 but are currently waiting for government legislation to be able to do this. 

You supported increases to council tax and the adult social care precept to help the council meet the challenging financial environment.  

  • A quarter of you said you would be willing to pay a 2% increase in council tax to help fund critical services across North Yorkshire while more than one third of you said you would pay 3% or more (although 22% wanted a 1% increase and 18% said no increase). 
  • One third of you said you would be willing to pay a 1% increase in council tax to fund adult social care, 20% said a 2% increase while nearly a quarter said 3% or more. 22% of you did not want any increase at all. 

We are very aware of the pressures on household budgets but despite using our reserves and finding even more areas where we can make savings, without compromising frontline services, we needed to increase council tax to meet these pressures. In February 2023, councillors voted to increase general council tax by 2.99% along with an increase of 2% in the adult social care precept. The overall 4.99% increase was equivalent to just under £7 a month for an average household. However, because of the work to unify all bills some residents paid more while others paid less. 


You are affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Last year when we asked how much the cost of living has impacted you on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “not at all” to 5 “a lot”, more than one third of you rated the impact as a 3 and around 15% of you said it was 5, “a lot”. 

We are working with public and voluntary sector partners to provide a wide variety of support schemes to help people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis in North Yorkshire, including the Household Support Scheme (Government scheme), North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, North Yorkshire Home Efficiency Fund, Holiday Activity Food programme, free school meals, local food support (via Food for Future and other grants), and Warm Welcome Network (Warm Spaces). More details about the support available can be found on our website.


We took the decision to put an extra £1 million into council tax support permanently last year. This is to help protect the most vulnerable at a time when the cost of living is high.


How to take part

Three ladies holding hands joyfully walking towards the waves barefooted on a beach wearing rolled up jeans and coats

Fill in the survey on our Commonplace survey page.

You can also request alternative formats or paper copies by emailing LetsTalk@northyorks.gov.uk or calling 0300 131 2 131 (please say ‘Let’s Talk’ when prompted)

Copies of the survey are also available in our libraries, leisure centres and local offices which are listed on our website.

The survey is open from 23 October 2023 and will close on Monday 18 December 2023.

What happens next?

We set out the council’s priorities in our Council Plan found on our website. We will use your feedback to inform the development of our Council Plan for 2024-2028 and the council’s budget for 2024-25.

Your feedback and the results of this consultation will be included in the budget report, which will go to the council’s executive on 23 January 2024 and to full council on 21 February 2024 when a final decision will be made.