GOVERNMENT is "closely monitoring" the situation at City of York Council following the publication of an independent report slating the council's handling of the former chief executive's payout.

Independent auditors took the unusual step of publishing a Public Interest Report into the circumstances of the payout, making it the fourth such report to be issued to a council since 2016.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government confirmed that they are aware of the report and said: “We are monitoring the situation at York City Council closely.

"Councils have a duty to manage taxpayers’ money responsibly and should be held to account where they are found to have failed to do so.”

The report by auditors makes a series of recommendations that the council has accepted and leaders will put together action plan.

The Government has the power to intervene where necessary to make sure a council is fulfilling its duty to give best value for money to its community.

The report comes as a consultation on local government reorganisation ends. Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, will be considering the council's bid to remain as a separate authority, rather than merging it with Scarborough, Ryedale and Selby councils.