SOUTH Craven householders are being urged to get involved in a debate about the financial challenges facing North Yorkshire County Council.

The authority is staging a live web chat to take questions and hear people's views as it prepares to decide its budget for the coming year.

Council leader, County Councillor Carl Les, said: "This will be the third year we have hosted a web chat to listen to people's comments and questions about spending challenges and decisions facing the county.

"We found the previous sessions informative and hope members of the public who took part did too.

"We're keen to hear people's views and suggestions on the priorities that guide our work.

"Everyone who lives and works in North Yorkshire has a stake in the county, so we hope people will take the opportunity to ask questions and share their opinions."

The council will meet to decide on the proposed budget next month.

County Cllr Les said this year's financial settlement, announced by the Government last month, presented the authority with a difficult choice – to take a Government offer of increasing council tax by a further one per cent, or to make further cuts to frontline services.

An additional one per cent increase, on top of the rise already proposed in the council's long-term financial strategy, would enable the authority to up council tax by 2.99 per cent – plus a further two per cent towards adult social care.

He added: "It looks like there will be significant funding shortfalls beyond 2020 so the council will be considering how it deals with those pressures as part of its longer-term planning.

"Of the savings already made, only 25 per cent has had an impact on frontline services, with most coming from the back office, staff and management posts and other general efficiencies."

The web chat takes place on Tuesday, January 23, between 5pm and 7pm.

To sign-up and leave questions in advance, visit northyorks.gov.uk/budget.

People can also take part in an online consultation, at northyorks.gov.uk/current-consultations.