SKIPTON MP Julian Smith has welcomed an announcement by the Government of more cash for local authorities in England.

Parliament recently approved a funding settlement which Whitehall says gives authorities access to more than £200 billion - between 2015 and 2020 - to pay for services in real terms.

For the coming financial year, which starts in April, North Yorkshire will have what the Government calls 'core spending power' of £390.7 million, an increase of £12.2 million or 3.2 per cent.

In addition, £16 million will be made available to councils providing services in rural areas, taking the total 'rural services grant' to £81 million - a recognition of the cost of providing local services in sparsely populated areas, the Government claims. For North Yorkshire, this additional funding amounts to £3.2 million.

Secretary of State for housing, communities and local government Sajid Javid said: “Parliament has approved a settlement that strikes a balance between relieving growing pressure on local government whilst ensuring that hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills. We have listened to representations made and delivered on these requests - two years of real terms increases in resources, more freedom and fairness, and greater certainty to plan and secure value for money.”

Mr Smith said: “This is great news for our area. I am pleased that the Secretary of State has recognised the challenges for local authorities working in rural areas, and I welcome the significant increase in spending power for North Yorkshire County Council.”