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Council Tax Rise 'As Low As Possible' As Budget Proposals Put Forward

Published on Friday 21 January 2022

Proposals to keep a rise in council tax as low as possible while continuing to protect and invest in vital services and managing on-going significant budget pressures are to be considered by Derbyshire County Council next week.


The county council’s Cabinet will meet on Monday (24 January 2022) to consider how the authority will manage and spend a proposed £618.457m net budget for 2022-23, and at what level it will set its council tax for the coming year.

The Revenue Budget Report sets out the council’s current financial position, the continuing impact of Covid-19, details of the Government’s Spending Review 2021 and the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, before identifying the significant service pressures facing the council currently and in future years and the total budget savings required over the coming year and the term of the Five Year Financial Plan to 2026-27.

For the coming year, 2022-23, the county council is proposing to raise council tax by 3% - which is 2% lower than the 5% permitted by Government (as the council deferred 2% from the 3% Adult Social Care precept allowed last year).

The 3% rise for 2022-23, if agreed for recommendation to Full Council, would be made up of a 1% Adult Social Care precept and 2% for general council expenditure.

It would mean an extra 62p per week for an average band B household and for a band D household the rise would be 80p per week.

The Revenue Budget Report also details the council’s savings target, which is approximately £67m over the course of the Five Year Financial Plan up to 2026-27, with savings needed for the year ahead estimated at £8m.  

It is noted in the report that the base budget is to be balanced in 2022-23 using reserves of £4m but it is expected that actions taken over the next few months will result in the need to use reserves for this purpose being reduced or removed.

Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said: “There is no doubt that putting forward a balanced budget for the year ahead has been a challenge and will continue to be the case in future years. 

“The budget proposed takes in to account the increasing pressures on services across the board, which have been impacted further by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the continuing and significant rise in demand for adult and children’s social care.

“While we have welcomed extra Government funding over the course of the pandemic to help us deal with rising costs incurred, the prospect of further funding to cover ongoing Covid-19 related costs is unclear at this point which has made planning more of a challenge.

“Despite extra funding, including from the proposed council tax rise, we know our adult and children’s social care budgets will continue to fall short in future years due to demand and increased costs, and we must still find major savings which will mean some difficult decisions in the coming years. 

“However, as an enterprising council we continue to work extremely hard to find new and innovative ways to provide our most vital services in the most efficient way to those who need them most.”

Councillor Lewis added: “Looking at the council tax is always difficult, and as always we have strived to keep it as low as realistically possible. We know Derbyshire households continue to face pressures like never before and we do not want to add unnecessary extra financial burden to residents.

“The proposal of 3% is lower than the full 5% we were allowed by Government and is as low as we can make it while recognising the pressures on adult social care, children’s services and a host of other vital council services.”

Both the adult care and children’s services budgets will be significantly higher next year, in particular when decisions on pay awards and increases for providers of residential and home care have been determined.

Other major budget proposals for 2022-23 include:

•    £5.016m - demographic growth - Adult Social Care and Health 
•    £9.410m – children in care placements - Children’s Services
•    £1.585m – support to vulnerable children and young adults – Children’s Services
•    £0.463m – climate change - ongoing £4m programme - Place
•    £0.113m – Million Trees project - part of £1m initiative - Place
•    £2.850m – major schemes - to `kick start’ capital projects – Place.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budget Councillor Simon Spencer said: “We work hard all year round to ensure we are balancing our books and working in the most efficient and effective way to get the best value for money for our residents.

“It’s clear to see that challenges lie ahead but residents can rest assured that we are doing all we can to ensure vital services continue as well as continuing to invest in our county.

“Projects put forward will benefit communities and households across the county, improve our infrastructure and support jobs, skills and the economy.”   

In addition to the Revenue Budget, Cabinet will also consider the council’s capital programme, which includes the following:

•    Children’s home alterations as part of refurbishment - £1m
•    School condition allowance/maintenance and improvements - £10.635m 
•    SEND (special educational needs) high needs capital allocation - £2.490m
•    Disabled Facilities Grant Adaptations - £11.8m
•    Elvaston Masterplan - £5m
•    Local Transport Plan - £27.371m
•    Public low emission vehicle infrastructure - £1.650m.

These capital proposals are contained in a separate report and are in addition to the announcement earlier this month of a plan to spend £58m on improving roads and pavements – the second year of a three-year £120m programme.

At its meeting on 24 January Cabinet will make recommendations to Full Council to consider when it meets on Wednesday 2 February 2022. 
 




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