Support for households in most need

Thursday, 8 December 2022

A concerted effort to support residents and households most affected by the cost of living crisis is paying off according to new figures.

A report being presented to a meeting of our cabinet on Tuesday (13 December) sets out our latest performance against our key objectives.

In the three months to September this year the number of benefits claims processed exceeded the set target and the time to handle claims for local support for council tax was 11.5 working days against a target of 20 days.

However, the number of benefit customers seen within 10 minutes was narrowly missed by less than one per cent (79.1 per cent against a target of 80 per cent).

Earlier this year, we were among the first councils in North Yorkshire to pay the £150 council tax energy rebate, with £5.25 million distributed in a ten-day period to 35,000 households.

Ever since inflation and rising costs started causing significant challenges for many households across the borough, we have been doing all we can to ensure support is available and for it to be as responsive as possible.

Elsewhere, the latest performance report shows the number of reported crimes is down and so are issues of anti-social behaviour.

Scarborough town centre has had more than 2.2 million visits so far in 2022 and 75,000 people have used Scarborough’s Sports Village.

However, the legacy of Covid-19, the retention of staff, and work pressures caused by the creation of a new unitary council for North Yorkshire have had a noticeable impact.

This means targets for making adaptions to homes to allow people to live independently, planning applications processed and waste contamination were missed.

We have more than 100 performance indicators to measure whether the services we provide are meeting their set targets.

Another set of targets are in place for our biggest projects and initiatives as set out in our corporate plan.

A separate report being presented to cabinet on December shows at least £8 million will be transferred to the new unitary authority in April.

We - Scarborough Borough Council - and the other seven district/boroughs and the county council are all being abolished at the end of March 2023.

A single authority – North Yorkshire Council – will take charge on 1 April.

We will end the 2022/23 financial year with an overspend of £1million.  This has mainly been caused by inflationary pressures and the cost of energy.

However, the overspend will be offset using last year’s surplus of £2.28 million, so the overall budget position will be balanced.

Councillor Janet Jefferson, cabinet member for corporate resources, said:

“We know that things have been incredibly tough for many households across the borough this year which is why we’ve been focussed on doing everything we can to help.

“Our latest performance report shows our effort is paying off, not least when it comes to processing benefits, helping with council tax and getting rebates paid.

“Sadly, we have missed some targets, but we know the reasons why and we are working hard to address these issues.

“With just over three months to go before our council is abolished, I am pleased that our careful management of our resources means we will make a significant financial contribution to the new unitary authority.”