Agenda item 3 - Cost of living crisis - impact on North Yorkshire and York update

Chief Executives' Group - North Yorkshire and York

18 November 2022

Cost of living crisis - impact on North Yorkshire and York update


1.0  Purpose of report

1.1  To update Chief Executives Group on developments in actions relating to dealing with cost-of-living crisis.


2.0       Introduction

2.1      A report on the Cost of Living Crisis – Impact on North Yorkshire and York was discussed at the last meeting of this group in September.

2.2       This report provides an update on the developments in the work around the cost of living crisis since the last meeting. This report highlights the work on food insecurity, the Wider Partnership Conference and the York Summit.

2.4      One of the actions from last meeting was that a report on housing supply should go to the NYC Housing LGR workstream; this report is at Annex A.


3.0       North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference

3.1       The 2022 North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference was held on 30th September and the theme of the conference was ‘Working together to support our communities through the cost of living crisis’.

3.2       Around 150 delegates from across the public and voluntary sector listened to presentations on the new council for North Yorkshire, food insecurity and fuel poverty. The delegates also took part in a discussion activity considering what works well and what could be built on around seven areas relating to the cost of living. Information on these discussions is available at Annex B.

3.3       Some of the common areas for building on what works well coming out of across the discussion topics include:

  • Data and common information that is communicated well.  
  • Partnerships: working together by joining up activities and/or joining up organisations/sectors. Taking a place-based approach and/or an activity focused approach.
  • Strengthening communities and empowering them to come together to create local solutions.
  • Making services more accessible and inclusive.
  • Funding being designed differently by commissioners, more flexibly on a place basis and more involvement from the voluntary sector and users.
  • Sharing best practice effectively across the county and across sectors.
  • The potential benefit of shared spaces to improve partnership working and break down barriers. Not necessarily by being based in the same building full time but by using the same venues to work or deliver services. Examples mentioned included pop-up hubs bringing organisations together in community venues.

3.4       The ambition for the new North Yorkshire Council in the business case sets out the new council will

    • develop locally owned strategies and plans for each locality and encourage local action.
    • focus on tackling local challenges by focusing on the strengths and assets of local communities
    • Be evidence-led by combining and integrating data about those communities

This will support the development of a place based approach around partnerships, commissioning, strengthening communities and ensuring local data is available.

3.5      The work on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural Prosperity Fund will be placed focused and creates the opportunities for collaboration.

3.6     The output from the conference has been made available on the North Yorkshire Partnerships website. It has been shared with the North Yorkshire Thriving Communities Partnership and other interested parties. Further work will be taken on actions to be taken forward.


4.0       York Cost of Living Summit

4.1       The York Cost of Living Summit on 31st October 2022 focused on “What can we all do to help the city through this crisis?” The 70 delegates heard from a variety of speakers about the data, the lived experience of residents, the voluntary sector and businesses. The delegates also participated in interactive sessions looking at strengths and how to use these to match the challenges faced. The feedback is still being compiled and further work will be required on actions to take forward.


5.0       Food security

5.1       Work on the joint CYC/NYCC food security project is continuing:

  • developing and utilising an evidence base of interventions including outcomes,
  • building our understanding of the realities faced by food access providers, the unmet needs, the real-life outcomes and thoughts about sustainability / viability
  • developing a clearer map of provision in view across York & North Yorkshire and gaining a feel for possible gaps in areas / or models
  • innovating / experimenting with a lived experience approach

5.2       The final research report will be published next year but information from the project is already starting to be used for example by helping the Stronger Communities Programme in their decision-making process for the heavily over-subscribed grants programme for food banks and other food providers utilising part of the Household Support Fund allocation for North Yorkshire.

5.3       The NYCC Corporate & Partnerships Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 24th October 2022 considered a report on the use of food banks and other food support services. After some discussion of the issues, the Committee agreed to undertake a scrutiny review on the use of Food Banks and other food support services across the county and agreed the review should focus on the medium–long term situation.  A Task Group has been set up to lead on the review, and as part of the review, all Committee members have committed to visiting their local food support services and feeding back their findings to the Task Group.

5.4       The NYCC Public Health Healthier Lives, Community and Economy team will work in conjunction with Stronger Communities and Local Enterprise Partnership colleagues to bring together a range of organisations in the food sector to establish a food system framework and ultimately a food partnership to address the immediate to long term challenges presented. The work will include:

  • Working closely with the University of York on the developed ‘Fix our Food’ system framework. Focused currently on a regional approach we wish to understand the impact this can have when applied at our local level.
  • Developing a joint understanding of what food priorities are for our different sectors.
  • Agree potential governance and action approach to a collaborative partnership focused on ‘farm to fork to bin’ and how this can create immediate impacts in response to local food needs through to establishing longer terms impacts on health, economy and sustainably.

More details are in Annex D.


6.0       Other developments

6.1       Work has been ongoing looking at key data sets that can provide insight into the cost of living. NYCC are looking at providing access to a wide range of data on a platform which all partners and the public can access.

6.2       Research is being carried out in York and North Yorkshire on the impact of the cost of living rises on residents. Healthwatch York are conducting this research for York and in North Yorkshire it is being done by the Let’s Talk survey being delivered by all the councils jointly. The Healthwatch York survey recently closed and the Let’s Talk survey will continue until 23rd December.

6.3       As of 7th November 1,579 responses to the Let’s Talk Cost of Living questions had been received. This is showing that the vast majority of people have been impacted to some extent. Respondents are asked how if the cost-of-living crisis has led to people to take specific actions.

The results to date are the main impacts have been using less heating (73%), spending less on leisure (52%) and taking fewer journeys (51%). Responses that may be of a concern are those cutting back on food (24%), using credit (12%) and increasing dept (10%). This picture may change before the survey ends. More in-depth analysis will be carried out on the survey.

6.3       In North Yorkshire the cost living support page on the NYCC website is being updated to provide as comprehensive a picture as possible including links to more local level sources of information. NYCC are developing a communications plan for cost of living support utilising a variety of tools. This is considering how people who are not online can access information, a hard copy leaflet is being developed that will be available in libraries and at Community Support Organisations who will signpost people to the most appropriate support. Tools for staff working with vulnerable people are also being considered.

6.4       Community First Yorkshire also have a cost of living webpage which refers to the NYCC page and provides a variety of additional information. Similarly, York CVS  cost of living crisis support

6.5       Robust multi-agency arrangements are in place for response to community tensions. Training has been provided on picking up signs and indicators of vulnerablility and where to direct them to.

6.6.      Work continued on phase three of the Household Support Fund (HSF). Both City of York and NYCC will be have their approach approved this month.

6.7       There has been much publicity recently around warm spaces for people to keep warm. In North Yorkshire the agreed Warm Welcome approach is that there will be no call out for buildings to open. It will be more about encouraging those who are already open such as libraries or community hubs, to extend their hours or include more people guaranteeing a warm welcome, with a hot drink and food. Signing up to the Warm Welcome Network is being encouraged.

6.8       HR colleagues have been asked to share information about the support that organisations are offering to their employees, with the aim of sharing good practice.


7.0  Recommendations

7.1  That Chief Executives Group:

  • Reviews the developments in relation to support for residents
  • Considers whether any additional actions should be undertaken


Neil Irving

Assistant Director - Policy Partnerships and Communities

Report author – Claire Lowery, Senior Strategy and Performance Officer

November 2022


Annex A – Housing Report

Annex B – Wider Partnership Conference Output

Annex C – City of York Report

Annex D - North Yorkshire Food Strategy Development


Annex A


North Yorkshire Council


Housing in North Yorkshire – Impact of the current economic environment



1.0     Introduction


1.1     This report follows a report to the Chief Executives Group in September which examined the potential impact of the current economic climate in relation to Local Government in North Yorkshire.  The report will examine in more detail this potential implications from a housing perspective for both local government and the community.


1.2     North Yorkshire offers a safe, beautiful and prosperous place to live and consistently features as one of the country’s most sought after locations.  This accolade brings with it unique challenges around supply and affordability of homes.


1.3     The current volatility in the current economic environment with inflation (Consumer Price Index) at September 2022 hitting 10.1%, the highest in 40 years.  In an attempt to reduce this the Bank of England has followed a strategy of slowly increasing interest rates to 2.25% in September the highest in 14 years.  This trend is predicted to continue with some forecasters predicting an increase to 3% in November 2022.


1.4     The result of this economic environment for the consumer (individual, business or public body) is that the price of goods and services are increasing, as is the cost of borrowing. 


1.5     The cost of fixed rate mortgages has increased by over 2% since July, reducing demand for housing.  Analysis predicts that this reduction in demand will result in a 10% decrease in property values over the next 18 months.



2.0     Homelessness


2.1     There is currently very high levels of demand across the county in respect of homelessness.  Budgets are being squeezed and officers are, in some cases, having difficulties finding suitable temporary accommodation.


2.2     This issue is being compounded by the stance of the Home Office in respect of sheltering asylum seekers who have crossed the English Channel.  Hotels currently being used by local authority housing team’s for emergency temporary accommodation are being commandeered by the Home Office resulting in a reduction in available space.


2.3     Although not impacting upon homelessness demand presently.  Significant increases in the price of fuel and food, coupled with significant increases in mortgage repayments could lead to an increase in lender repossessions and an increase in the number of individuals and families presenting as homeless.   In 1998 when interest rates reached 7% there were 34,000 repossessions in the UK, this was following a slow rise in interest rates which had historically been between 5% and 6%.   The current trajectory is much steeper, with interest rates rising from 0.25% to 3.00% in less than a year and that increase is predicted to continue through into 2023 and beyond. Interest rates are forecast to hit 4.5% by March 2023, with a potential peak of 5% by the middle of 2023.


2.4     Should demand increase significantly then this will impact upon both the Councils financial position and its ability to find suitable temporary accommodation.  Actions that could help mitigate this include:

  • Legally challenge the government on its use of hotels for asylum seekers (The approach of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Ipswich City Council).
  • Look at partnering with neighbouring Councils however they are likely to be facing similar challenges.
  • Build additional temporary accommodation (safe spaces initiative).
  • Look to RSL’s to increase their supply of temporary accommodation.



3.0     Affordability and supply


3.1     Affordability in the housing market has been a significant issue in North Yorkshire for many years, in 2020/21 Hambleton’s average house price was £220,000 whilst the average salary was £21,000 a multiplier in excess of ten.  The result is that home ownership is not possible for many working families.  This problem is compounded in many rural areas / the national parks where Airbnb / second home ownership is reducing supply.


3.2     The current economic conditions although likely to reduce house prices in the short to medium term will make affordability worse.  The increases in the cost of living coupled with increasing mortgage rates and lenders being more risk adverse in their lending strategies.


3.3     There is not enough properties available in the rented sector either social / affordable rent, decades of under investment in new social housing and the impact of ‘right to buy’ has resulted in demand far outstripping supply.  In the private rented sector, many properties are being converted to Airbnb, particularly in popular tourist locations like Scarborough and the national parks again reducing supply.


3.4     There is no quick solution to this issue but actions that could address the affordability and supply problem include:

  • Ensure developers are held to local plan affordability ratios in new developments.
  • Look at building Council Housing at scale, the new Council will have a significant land and asset base to facilitate such a strategy.
  • Look at products like shared ownership, to make ownership a possibility for more families / individuals.
  • The Rural Housing Enabler project has resulted in some excellent examples of affordable home in rural locations, this project could be scaled up.
  • Look to introduce planning conditions to limit the number of new second homes / Airbnb.



4.0     Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Implications


4.1     Like all council budgets the HRA’s are under significant pressure in terms of cost inflation and interest rate increases for future capital expenditure. 


4.2       Rent increases are usually set annually at CPI plus 1%, however given current CPI rates that would produce a rent increase of over 10%.  Over the summer / autumn the Government have been consulting on a cap on rent increases, the consultation sought views from the sector (including RSL’s) on a cap of 3%, 5% or 7%. The outcome of this is yet to be published however the National Housing Federation have warned the sector to prepare for a rent freeze or indeed a cut.


4.3       HRA’s must be self-financing they cannot subsidise or be subsidised from the General Fund.  Therefor these budgetary pressures must be managed within the overall financial envelop of the HRA.  A balance of using HRA reserves and slowing major capital repair schemes are the only real alternatives, although the later can lead to an increase in responsive repairs and associated costs.


4.4       Additional pressures are being faced in terms of potential increases in the level of rent arrears as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit household budgets and spending capacity.


4.5       Further financial pressures are hitting in terms of inflation pressures on commodities and building materials, which in turn pushes up costs for new construction, renewal programmes and routine repairs and maintenance.


4.6       Increases in interest rates have meant that PWLB long-term borrowing rates have increased from circa 2.5% at the start of the financial year to around 4% at present. Recent volatility in the gilt market, places additional uncertainty over future borrowing costs.  Again, affecting the affordability of major capital schemes.



5.0       Conclusion


5.1       This report sets out the potential impact of the current cost of living crisis on housing across North Yorkshire.  Although some impact is starting to be felt, homelessness being an example this is only the start.  The UK is facing recession and in some analyst’s predictions its longest and deepest, this has the potential of having a profound impact on hosing and associated need. 


5.2       This report is for noting.



Annex B - North Yorkshire Wider Partnership Conference

The presentations and output of the conference can be accessed on the nypartnerships website.

Summary of discussion topic output

Fuel Poverty

  • Rural premium
  • Advice/support
  • Funding
  • Housing quality
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Working together better
  • Training/skills
  • Warm spaces

Food insecurity

  • More than food
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Messaging
  • Community food retail
  • Collaborative working
  • Sharing learning

Transport and access

  • Funding (covering costs)
  • Think differently
  • Consultation / communication
  • Volunteers
  • Car Sharing / community transport
  • Training and support

Improving skills and jobs

  • Sharing learning
  • Inclusivity/access
  • Asset based / build on strengths
  • Volunteers
  • Think differently
  • Foundation
  • Communication

Health inequalities

  • Data and information
  • Working together better
  • Inclusion / accessibility
  • Prevention


  • Design of funding
  • Involvement
  • Local authority grants/contracts
  • Working together better
  • Data and information
  • Income diversification
  • Skills/Attitudes

Bringing it together

  • Working together
  • Sharing information
  • Sharing spaces
  • Ways of working
  • Supporting staff
  • Funding
  • Strengthening communities





More detailed information

Fuel poverty

  • Consider: rural areas, living on own, just about managing, organisations
  • Communication / reduce stigma
  • Accessing green funding
  • Housing strategy: retrofit insulation, future housing, carpets in social housing
  • Support for vulnerable households: support workers, vaccinations, keeping active
  • Working together: Health / benefits / welfare / energy / housing
  • Knowing what is out there and how to access
  • Upskilling people to give advice in the community
  • Warm spaces


Food insecurity

  • More than food – social eating, social making, signposting, involvement
  • Education – cooking / food waste / schools
  • Environment – food waste, allotments
  • Messaging – change language. inclusive, reduce stigma
  • Community food retail
  • Collaborative working – learn and share, not just food models and providers
  • Impacts – health, hygiene.


Transport and access

  • Funding - covering costs, subsidies, grants, user contributions, cancellations, increase mileage payments, concessions
  • Think differently – join up services/appointments, online, plan access, take services to communities, e-scooters
  • Consultation / communication – information on services, ask communities at start, promote walking / cycling
  • Volunteers – encourage volunteering, cover costs, ensure transport not barrier to volunteering
  • Car Sharing / community transport – more buses/mini- buses, more in rural areas, shared resources, demand responsive travel
  • Training and support


Improving skills and job opportunities

  • Sharing learning – networking, shadowing, mentoring, peer to peer skill sharing
  • Inclusivity/access – accessible training, access for groups traditionally excluded
  • Asset based / build on strengths – focus on what can on, utilise libraries, bottom-up approach, employee led,
  • Volunteers – train and upskill, support into work, deliver digital training
  • Think differently – Care academy, use of none work related courses, include cost of training in funding bids
  • Foundation – training key, career pathways, skills audit, lifelong learning
  • Communication – benefits of learning




Health inequalities

  • Data and information – to drive decisions, tailor interventions and projects, community voices
  • Working together better – VCS / NHS / housing / social care, less barriers between services, sharing space / using local venues, place based
  • Inclusion / accessibility – digital exclusion, participation reflecting communities, rural access, support for inclusion, go to communities, build trust
  • Prevention – education, early intervention, carers, encourage activity, reduce barriers, warms spaces, ventilation, volunteering, wider determinants, mental health, smoking cessation



  • Design of funding – flexibility, length, ongoing, packages at local level, autonomy, full cost recovery/increases for inflation
  • Involvement – to understand needs, listen to experience, change after feedback, pay self-advocates for time
  • Local authority grants/contracts – communication, future working, involvement of VCS, place based funding
  • Working together better including sharing spaces, ideas, learning, skills and experience and gaining funds
  • Data and information – funding blackspots, shared knowledge
  • Skills/Attitudes – experience, sharing good practice, managing expectations
  • Income diversification – less reliance on grants, social enterprise opportunities


Bringing everything together

  • Working together
  • NHS, businesses, VCS, council, housing association
  • networking, communication, sharing good practice 
  • community networks
  • Sharing information – services/signposting, leaflets
  • Sharing spaces – different sectors, pop up hubs, venues available in areas
  • Ways of working – reducing admin, virtual and in person
  • Supporting staff – ensuring resilience
  • Funding – joint funding
  • Strengthening communities – less red tape, asset-based community development, experts by experience





Annex C - City of York Report to Executive


Agenda for Executive on Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 5.30 pm (


Agenda item 6. Addressing the Cost of Living Crisis in York

The Director of Customer & Communities to present a report which provides an overview of the current position regarding the national cost of living crisis locally in York, focusing on the impact on the Council, programmes being undertaken and key activities to tackle the impacts of the crisis, and including an update on the citywide York Cost of Living Summit held on 31 October 2022.



Annex D – NYCC Food strategy development work


1.0 Introduction


    1. In July 2020, the National Food Strategy (Part One) was published, a Government-commissioned independent review by Sir Henry Dimbleby into the food system. This had originally been intended as a broad analysis of the strengths and flaws of the entire food system from farm to fork, with Part Two following on behind with recommendations. But COVID-19 intervened, and Part One became instead an urgent response to the issues of hunger and ill health raised by the pandemic, as well as the trade and food standards issues created by the end of the EU Exit transition period.


    1. The National Food Strategy (Part Two) was published in July 2021.  The second publication returned to the original brief, taking a closer look at how the food system works, the damage it is doing to our health and our ecosystem, and the interventions that could be implemented to prevent these harms. 


    1. Part Two contains recommendations to address the major issues facing the food system: climate change, biodiversity loss, land use, diet-related disease, health inequality, food security and trade. These recommendations have grouped under four main National Food Strategy objectives:
      • Escape the junk food cycle
      • Reduce diet related inequality
      • Make the best use of our land
      • Create a long-term shift in our food culture.


    1. As a direct response to Sir Dimbleby’s Strategy review, the policy paper ‘Government Food Strategy’ was published in June 2022. The Government Food Strategy includes policy initiatives to boost health, sustainability, accessibility of diets and to secure food supply, ensuring that domestic producers and the wider food and drink industry contributes to the levelling up agenda and makes the most of post-Brexit opportunities.


Please visit  The Report - National Food Strategy to read the full Part Two report, ‘The Plan’.


2.0 Why is food an important issue in North Yorkshire? 


2.1      The Government Food Strategy helps us reflect on key public health issues we need to focus on to provide a healthy, sustainable, accessible and affordable food system.  These can be put into four headings:

2.1.1    Our health and wellbeing –

Globally, the biggest risks associated with mortality of both men and women are high blood pressure, excess weight, and high glucose. These can lead to ‘non-communicable disease’ such as Coronary Heart Disease diabetes and certain cancers.  Poor diet is one of the biggest contributors to these health risks. 


There are real inequalities in dietary-related behaviours.  Evidence suggests that some people’s circumstances make it harder for them to move away from unhealthy behaviours, particularly if they are worse off in terms of socio-economic factors such as debt or poverty. This is compounded by differences in the environments in which people live – for example, deprived areas in England are more likely to have higher levels of fast food outlets per person in their immediate area than less deprived areas.


2.1.2   Sustainability – food for the planet

Globally, the food system is responsible for up to one-third (33%) of all greenhouse gases (GHG), a figure that dwarfs the 3.5% caused by air travel. In the UK, our domestic food system alone (ignoring the GHGs from the food we import) accounts for around 20% of our greenhouse gas emissions.



The UK’s food system has decarbonised at half the pace of the wider economy; agriculture hasn’t decarbonised at all in over a decade.  An important point in the context of NY’s long and proud history of farming and recognition that the agriculture sector plays a crucial role in enabling land use emissions savings.


2.1.3 Household food security

Food insecurity can mean at a global scale, being part of a global food system that provides us with a diversity of supply sources and access to new products that cannot be produced domestically.  Being resilient to future crisis and shocks such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. 


Food security also relates to households. By definition, food insecurity affects both the quality, desirability, variety of food and the quantity of food intake.  The physical and mental health impacts of food in security can be seen in this very helpful infographic.


People from ethnic minority communities, those limited by disability, those with children (increasing), and those on Universal Credit have higher levels of food insecurity.


(Insight from North Yorkshire Childhood Obesity Trailblazer project 2019)


The Family Resources Survey (DWP), Department of Work and Pensions found that 7% of households experienced food insecurity in 2020/21.  The Food Foundation survey found similar levels of food insecurity in August 2020 to the government data shows that since then food insecurity levels have increased to 15.5% in April 22.

If this 15.5% of households was applied to North Yorkshire household projections data, then 42,937 households will be food insecure in 2022.   This equates to approximately an additional 23,000 households experiencing food insecurity in 2022.


3.0 North Yorkshire Food Strategy development


3.1       Currently there is limited data on the food agenda in North Yorkshire.  There are local public health profiles, regional data on food insecurity, and a level of understanding components of a food system from ‘farm to fork’. 

3.2       There is however, much more that needs to be understood. There needs to be more work to understand what is being delivered across all aspects of the food systems – ‘from farm to fork to bin’, identifying both the challenges and opportunities the system in North Yorkshire presents across the range of food issues including: food insecurity, accessibility, developing skills and innovation, as well as connecting the system to itself to achieve improved health, economic drive and sustainable action.


3.4       The NYCC Public Health Healthier Lives, Community and Economy team  will work in conjunction with Stronger Communities and Local Enterprise Partnership colleagues to bring together a range of organisations in the food sector to establish a food system framework and ultimately a food partnership to address the immediate to long term challenges presented.

The work will include:   

  • Working closely with the University of York on the developed ‘Fix our Food’ system framework. Focused currently on a regional approach we wish to understand the impact this can have when applied at our local level.
  • Developing a joint understanding of what food priorities are for our different sectors.
  • Agree potential governance and action approach to a collaborative partnership focused on ‘farm to fork to bin’ and how this can create immediate impacts in response to local food needs through to establishing longer terms impacts on health, economy and sustainability .


4.0  Contact details


For further information please contact

Angela Crossland, Head of Healthier Lives, Communities and Economy – Public Health

Ruth Everson, Public Health Manager

Jenny Thompson, Public Health Officer