THE body which manages the North York Moors National Park is set to cut its spending plans by less than four per cent, despite an expected significant loss in income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The park authority has revealed it still plans to carry out the majority of the work in its largest ever budget of £10.8m, with its revised budget for 2020/21 detailing proposals to spend just £413,000 less overall, and only £263,000 less on its key activities.
Among the areas set to be hardest hit is conservation, which will see £156,970 less than the original £2.3m planned spend.
A report to the authority’s finance committee states lockdown had “immediate impacts on multiple key income streams”.
It has been forecast the authority will lost £420,000 in car parking income alone and £869,000 overall, but the report says those considering which services and initiatives need to be cut back are facing “considerable uncertainty”. It says uncertainty centres around the length and timing of remaining lockdown restrictions, the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19, the amount of pay increase the government states staff must be given.
However, park bosses hope to offset some of loss of income by claiming £180,000 from Government support schemes, such as claiming for furloughed staff whose salaries directly related to its earned income stream, such as staff involved with car parks and visitor centres.
In addition, with facilities being closed during lockdown, there the authority is expecting to incur £340,000 less costs.
Nevertheless, the report states Covid-19 has changed some of the priorities of the authority for the coming year and a £200,000 rural recovery fund needs to be established.
To balance the books a further £263,000 of activity reduction has been proposed, including cutting back on connectivity and other areas of conservation, not recruiting to new non-essential vacancies, less training and maintenance and less work on access routes.
The report states: “The budget proposal mitigates the detrimental impact on income as a result of Covid-19 as well as incorporating a rural recovery fund to help finance new strategies in dealing with the local consequences of the pandemic.”