This year's budget to be considered by our cabinet

18 January 2018

Careful spending and effective planning are behind our proposals to achieve a balanced budget for the year ahead.

Our Cabinet will meet next week (25 January 2018) to consider how it will spend its £503m budget for 2018-2019, where it will prioritise funds and at what level council tax needs to be set at to continue running vital services.

The Cabinet will then make recommendations to Full Council to consider when it meets in February.

While we're confident we'll balance the books, a total of £12m needs to be saved in the coming year.

These savings have mostly been identified, with work continuing to achieve savings up to 2020 of £53m.

In achieving the savings, we should be in a position to freeze council tax in two years for 2020-2021 and 2021-2021.

To meet our general expenditure and fund essential services for the year ahead, as well as mapping out our savings, we're considering raising our portion of the council tax by 4.99% for 2018-2019.

A total of 2% of this proposed rise is the 'adult social care precept', which is spent directly on services providing care for older and vulnerable adults.

This is the third year that the Government has allowed councils with responsibility for providing adult care services to raise council tax by 2%, (or 3% per year for two years) in addition to a rise for general expenditure.

The extra 2% adult social care precept increase in Derbyshire would raise an additional £5.9m for the coming year. This would mean an increase of £19 a year − or 36p per week − for an average Band B property and £24 a year − or 46p per week − for a Band D property.

The Government has recently announced that councils can add a further 1% to any planned general expenditure rise to support funding vital services which are under pressure, partly, it is believed, as a response to lobbying by local authorities via the Local Government Association over increased demands on children's services budgets.

We're considering adding the extra 1% rise, over and above its previously planned increase, to help to meet significant cost pressures facing children's social care.

Children's services are facing increased demand including rising numbers of children in care and children in need, and the extra 1% increase would provide much needed support for the service.

Derbyshire County Council Leader, Councillor Barry Lewis said:

"Like all local authorities we're facing challenges in the coming year but we're confident we're proposing a strong, fair budget, spending every penny wisely and ensuring we can continue to provide essential, high quality, efficient services that serve Derbyshire residents well.

"We had an unprecedented number of Derbyshire residents respond to our budget consultation, with more than 6,000 people telling us what services are important to them.

"We've listened and I believe our proposed budget is a good reflection of the views we received.

"We're putting an emphasis on caring for older and vulnerable people and children and young people, and ensuring we keep our roads in good repair."

Councillor Lewis added:

"While we have £12m savings to make in the coming year, we have a budget of £503m and we'll be making sure this is spent in those areas where it brings the most benefit to Derbyshire people.

"The proposed council tax rise will fund essential services and help us to plan for the future, and this careful planning will result in a council tax freeze in 2020-21 for two years − which we announced in July 2017."

In summary, when our Cabinet meets next Thursday 25 January 2018 it will consider:

  • Setting the authority's annual budget for 2018-2019 at £503m
  • Raising the council tax by 4.99%
  • Including in the rise, a 2% adult social care precept which will generate £5.9m
  • Including in the rise, 1% to support vital services under pressure, to be targeted towards children's services, which will generate £3m
  • Accepting departmental savings proposals to achieve a target of £12m for 2018-2019.

The revenue budget report also details a number of Government grants and other initiatives that will help us to balance our books for the coming year. One of these is the successful bid which we led to take part in a 100% Business Rates Retention pilot scheme.

We led the successful bid which will benefit the county as a whole by up to £21m and provide us with an extra one-off amount of approximately £6m to be spent supporting a variety of its services including children's social care, waste and recycling.

The Government has also confirmed an increase of £6m in the Improved Better Care Fund allocation for Derbyshire, and for 2018-2019 the county will receive a total of £95.5m.

The Better Care Fund will be used by local clinical commissioning groups (NHS) working with us on improving health and social care services, including speeding up hospital discharges and providing support to help more people live safely and well in their own homes.

At its meeting next Thursday 25 January 2018, Cabinet will make recommendations to Full Council to consider when it meets on Wednesday 7 February 2018.