York council boss Keith Aspden has accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of passing an unfair ‘tax bombshell’ onto local communities.

Cllr Aspden said there were some ‘positive announcements’ in the budget statement, such as the support for the cultural and hospitality sectors.

But he warned that overall, the Chancellor’s plans would see ‘those struggling the most, pay for the Government’s broken promises’', thanks to a lack of poper funding for councils, coupled with a rise in National Insurance that will go towards th NHS but not social care.

Cllr Aspden said that, according to the Local Government Association, local authorities in England faced extra cost pressures of almost £8 billion by 2024/25 just to keep vital local services running at today’s levels.

In York, he said, the council is facing a significant budget gap of £10million next year.

The lack of any meaningful long-term funding announced for local councils or social care would see councils forced to raise money through council tax to fund social care, he said.

York Press: “After a decade which has seen council funding cut by 60 per cent, councils were in need of adequate powers and services, as we were already experiencing rising cost and service pressures even before the pandemic,” he said.

“Instead of providing certainty and long term support for local services, from social care to frontline services, the Chancellor has chosen to drop a ‘tax bombshell’ on local communities, who are left to pay the price of Government’s broken promises – through rises in National Insurance as well as regressive council tax.

“This is not just about money. Local councils must be empowered by devolved decision-making in areas such as education, skills and planning, which will be key in delivering for our communities.

“Public finances are undoubtedly under huge strain but investment in local services will be vital for our economic and social recovery. Any plan that will see local communities foot the bill by putting the burden on the same people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic is simply regressive and unfair.”

Warning about the increasing pressures on councils caused by rising social care costs, Councillor Aspden added: “Much of what the Government has announced as part of their plan to fix social care, focuses on existing pressures in the NHS and misses one crucial point - a sustainable NHS depends on a sustainable social care system.

“Most of the money raised through the unfair National Insurance rise won’t even be spent on social care for many years to come, if ever.

“We have seen time and again during the course of the pandemic the enormous contribution adult social care, the NHS and its incredible workforce has made to people, families and communities. There is a long way to go to make social care the best it can be. Without immediate investment we will move backwards, not forwards, with real impact on all councils’ ability to support people to live the life they want to lead.”