Derbyshire County Council leader warns of ‘difficult decisions’ ahead of more cuts

Derbyshire County Council leader Barry Lewis.
Derbyshire County Council leader Barry Lewis.

The leader of Derbyshire County Council has warned ‘difficult decisions’ lie ahead as the authority’s funding is cut further.

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

Currently, the authority’s annual budget is around £500 million.

The Tory-led council has set itself the task of saving £33.4 million in 2020-21 and has identified the following cuts:

- Reduced finance staffing – £100,000

- Review prevention services – £150,000

- Promoting greater independence for people with disabilities – £1.029 million

- Promoting greater independence for older people – £1.905 million

- Cost-effective placements of children in care – £450,000

- Review of the Youth Council to ensure offer “remains relevant” – £15,000

- Efficiencies in home to school transport, including “ceasing” some routes – £70,000

- Reducing back-office staff – £538,000

- Restricting use of waste tips by people who live outside of Derbyshire – £230,000

- Further reductions to subsidies for bus routes (potentially seeing some routes dropped – £450,000

- Economy, transport and environment staff reductions – £258,000

- Finance and ICT, communications, human resources, policy, trading standards and community safety staff – £2.081 million

- Rationalising county-owned land and property and releasing “surplus assets” – £1.9 million

The five-year-plan suggests less than half of the £33.4m worth of savings for 2020-21 have been identified.

Council leader, Barry 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 two years if possible.

“However, there is much work to be done and difficult decisions to make over the next five years.”

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service