Derbyshire plans to spend extra cash on roads and public transport under proposed new budget

The leader of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Berry Lewis.

An extra £6m to improve roads and a £3m boost to public transport are among changes being proposed in a revised budget that Derbyshire County Council is considering.

After the Conservatives took control of the authority following the May elections, Following the change in our administration after the May elections, the new leaderhsip has drawn up a revised budget for 2017-18 and plans for later years.

Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said: “The proposed revised budget would see the authority on target to meet its budget savings in the next five years and allow for a council tax freeze for two years (2020-2021 and 2021-2022).

“There is work to do and we have already identified areas where savings could be made without impacting on service delivery.”

The proposed revised budget, to be considered by our Cabinet next week includes:

Allocating an extra £6m for highways maintenance, including resurfacing roads and fixing potholes − resulting in an additional £16.5m being spent over the next five years.

Putting back £3.1m over two years (2018-2019 and 2019-2020) into public and community transport, reversing a previous budget saving and resulting in an additional £11.9m over the next five years

A planned Council Tax freeze for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 (previously planned as a 2% increase)

Additional money from the Government’s improved Better Care Fund − an extra £16.2m for 2017-2018 for adult social care services, including supporting people coming out of hospital

reversing a previous budget saving of £79,000 to arts grants and putting in a further £125,000

£1m for 750 Youth Activity Grants, 750 Derbyshire Sport and Community Action Grants and 500 community safety projects, Neighbourhood Watch schemes and anti-fraud initiatives.

The proposed council tax freeze, with additional budget pressures, would mean a £85m savings target for the council over the next five years.

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Councillor Barry Lewis said: “The council’s priorities have changed since the May elections and this needs to be reflected in the current budget and the Five Year Financial Plan.

“We know improving the county’s roads is a priority for people so we’re putting an extra £6m over three years into the highways maintenance budget. More potholes will be fixed faster and more roads can be resurfaced.

“We’re also reversing public transport cuts which would have had a huge impact on vulnerable isolated people in rural communities.”

Councillor Lewis added: “The council is on track to achieve the necessary budget savings, and we plan to be able to freeze council tax in three years time.

“We’re cutting out waste, putting money back in to services people expect and exploring different ways of doing things.

“We’ve already reduced allowances for councillors holding Cabinet Member and Cabinet Support Member positions by an average of 12% and we’re considering doing without the role of Chief Executive and reducing our top management team to save more than £300,000 per year.

“We’re also using some of the council’s reserves to ensure that valuable services continue to deliver for the people of Derbyshire.”

Cabinet will be asked to consider the report and make recommendations to Full Council to consider on Wednesday 13 September 2017.

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