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Council reveals further savings as it works to balance budget

Published: 4 September 2019

We have set out plans to bridge a savings shortfall in our updated 5 year financial plan which will be discussed next week.

Our Cabinet will consider the updated plan, which sets out how we aim to balance the books up to 2023-24, at a meeting next Wednesday (11 September).

Council Leader, Councillor Barry Lewis said that while we continued to face budget challenges, with significant pressures in children’s social care, special educational needs provision, highways maintenance and waste, the Enterprising Council approach was ensuring modern and innovative ways of providing services were being explored and value for money continued to be at the heart of all our work.

Councillor Lewis said:

“As with authorities across the country, we continue to face significant challenges, which is why we are an Enterprising Council and are continuing with our Fair Funding campaign, lobbying Derbyshire MPs, Central Government and individual Ministers to insist that funding for local authorities is shared out fairly and can cover the rising cost of vital services.

“With prudent management we aim to achieve and maintain a stable financial position and our plans still include freezing council tax for 2 years if possible. However, there is much work to be done and difficult decisions to make over the next 5 years.”

By 2024 we must make a total of £63 million of savings, on top of the £257 million already achieved since 2010.

In the updated 5 year financial plan new areas for savings have been identified which, if agreed, could help to meet the target over the next 5 years.

The proposed new savings areas include the b_line discount card for young people, restrictions on usage of household waste recycling centres for people living outside the county, managing demand on our legal services, adult care programmes, Derbyshire Record Office and an arts grants review.

Over the term of the updated plan, we will also use £39 million of reserves to ensure that the savings targets can be met in a sustainable, planned way to try to minimise the impact on residents.

It is forecast that the general reserves position will change from £64.5 million in 2019-20 to £18.3 million by 2023-24, although that will still be at an acceptable level if all savings identified are achieved on time.

Councillor Lewis said:

“As well as detailing our financial position, the 5 year plan also highlights our progress and performance on major projects including the success of the Markham Vale enterprise zone which has already brought more than 1,600 jobs to the local area with a further 2,700 planned.

“It references the large scale reclamation of contaminated brownfield sites which can be developed for housing and employment, and notes the re-start of our £30 million care programme to provide modern care homes for older people.”

Councillor Lewis added:

“There’s a lot of good news to give and we’re working hard to ensure we continue to run an effective and efficient council providing the best value for money for the people of Derbyshire. However, we do need the support of Government and a fair funding settlement to carry on providing top quality services to people who need them most.”