The budget proposals, which include the lower council tax rise instead of an earlier predicted 4.99%, continued investment in road improvements and targeted spending on services for vulnerable older people and children, will now be considered by Full Council when it meets on Wednesday 6 February 2019.
The budget for 2019 to 2020 is proposed to be set at £519.5 million, with £329.4 million coming directly from the council tax.
The bulk of our budget for next year will be directed towards services for vulnerable children, people with disabilities and older people, with the council working hard to ensure all vital services can continue while providing value for money for Derbyshire residents.
If agreed by Full Council next month, the 3.99% rise is lower than the maximum allowed by Government and 1% lower than last year. It will mean that Derbyshire’s share of council tax bills will remain below the average for similar councils.
We're looking at how we can achieve a freeze on council tax for the two years from 2020 to 2021, which is a challenge but one we feel would benefit the most residents across the county.
While confident our finances are in a strong position, our recommended budget includes a departmental savings target of £13.4 million for the year ahead to ensure the books balance. The savings target over the next five years is £63.2 million.
Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said:
“We want to do what we can to reduce the pressure on household costs, especially at a time when there are some signs of uncertainty in the economy.
“We believe we’re recommending a strong budget to Full Council which not only sees a lower council tax rise but will ensure every penny is spent wisely and gives the best value for money where it’s needed most.
“Our aim is to continue to keep council tax rises as low as possible while working with our communities to protect the services that matter to our residents the most.”
While a significant element of savings have been identified, as detailed in the report agreed by Cabinet on Thursday (24 January 2019) work continues on how to meet the overall target by the end of March 2020 and in future years.
New ways of savings are constantly being identified as services across the council are reviewed and every penny is scrutinised.
New schemes in the 2019 to 2020 revenue budget report include changing from local to regional arrangements around adoption placements which are expected to save £143,000 from 2019 to 2020 and a review of the welfare benefits service which could realise savings of £150,000.
We're also looking to reduce our expenditure on trade union facilities time to bring it in line with similar county councils. It is expected this would generate a proposed saving of £50,000 per year from 2020 to 2021.
In summary, our Cabinet has recommended:
- setting our annual budget for 2019 to 2020 at £519.5 million
- raising the council tax by 3.99%
- a 2% adult social care precept included in the overall 3.99% council tax rise which will generate £6.3 million
- spending the remaining 1.99% on funding other council priorities including children’s services
- accepting departmental savings proposals to achieve a savings target of £13.4 million from 2019 to 2020.
A 3.99% rise in council tax would see an increase of £39.48 per year or 76p per week rise for the average Band B household and for a Band D household the rise would be £50.76 per year or 98p per week.
The adult social care portion (2%) of the overall 3.99% increase would cost the average Band B property £19.79 a year or 38p per week, and for a Band D property £25.44 per year or 49p per week.
Cabinet’s recommendations will be considered by Full Council when it meets at County Hall, Matlock, on Wednesday 6 February 2019.