THERE were quite a few shocked faces at the meeting of Craven District Council when the finance head revealed a not-so-rosy picture of the council's finances in the long term.

It was just a short couple of months ago when councillors were told there were indeed tough times ahead, but that the council was well placed to weather the storm, having subjected itself and residents to a few years of austerity.

Now, we are told there is a real possibility that discretionary services could be cut, if the council's financial settlement in the Autumn Statement turns out to be the worse-case scenario - and if not in the immediate term, in the next five years or so.

That really begs the question, which discretionary services? The council only has a handful of public toilets left, having handed the others over to parish and town councils, which leaves the museum and art gallery. Car parks make money, so they'll have to stay.

Councillors were told it was not just a matter of saving money, but coming up with additional revenue streams - one of which is expected to be Skipton Town Hall. But before it manages that, the hall needs to secure tenants - it is two years since it started actively marketing the building and five years since the town council proposed moving in.

CRAVEN is preparing to welcome a number of Syrian refugees, but is still negotiating on the exact numbers, because there are several other issues to take into account.

The district council is not alone in saying this - following a meeting with the Home Office, Craven, along with North Yorkshire County Council and its district colleagues, says it needs more detail about the "long-term implications for resources''.

One might imagine we were preparing to accept several hundred, not the "five or six" a year suggested by the leader of Craven District Council.