We're standing up for Derbyshire by calling on the government to change an outdated and unfair way of funding our vital local services and give our county its fair share of the national budget.
Read the facts here and find out what you can do to help:
If Derbyshire was funded at the same level as Kensington and Chelsea we'd be better off by £238 million – that’s an extra £300 to spend on every resident for things like libraries, school improvement and services for people who are more vulnerable, including senior citizens and people with disabilities.
- Fact 2:
In Islington the council has £952 to spend on every resident – in Derbyshire it's just £718 per resident.
Derbyshire is in the bottom 10 worst-funded councils – ranking 140 out of 150 upper-tier English local authorities in terms of money to spend per resident.
We believe the current system of council funding is biased towards London boroughs, cities and the south of England and is fundamentally unfair to Derbyshire.
We've been calling for a government review of council funding for a long time and now we have an opportunity to redress the balance for Derbyshire for generations to come.
Why the system is unfair
The money that we receive comes from 3 different places – council tax, government grants and income from charging for some council services.
But in each of these 3 funding streams, Derbyshire loses out compared to most other areas of the country.
- Council tax:
Councils in areas with more expensive properties, like London and the south, can raise far more in council tax than Derbyshire is able to, yet those areas don’t necessarily need more local services than Derbyshire.
- Government grants:
It simply can't be fair that people in Derbyshire, like people all over the country, pay their income tax to government yet we receive less back from national funds than 90 per cent of other councils.
Councils in urban areas can bring in a lot of money from things like car parking and toll roads. The rural and small town nature of Derbyshire means opportunities to raise income on a big scale are limited and this isn’t taken into account in government funding.
What we're doing about it
The government has asked us to give our views about why we believe the current funding system (called the funding formula) is unfair to Derbyshire.
Our full response to the government consultation, has 7 'asks' to make sure Derbyshire gets its fair share in the future:
- Significant local differences – such as the fact Derbyshire's elderly population is much higher than the national average – should be taken into account when money is handed out.
- It is unfair that council tax payers in some areas of the country pay less yet receive more local services, whereas in other areas council tax payers pay more but their local services are being cut. This postcode lottery should end.
- One-off or short term funding from government is only a sticking plaster. Councils should be properly baseline funded so they can plan future services for their residents.
- Cities benefit under the current funding formula at the expense of rural areas because no account is taken of the extra cost of providing services – such as public and school transport and social care – over a wide or remote area.
- For councils such as Derbyshire with large upland areas, the cost of gritting in winter should be a factor in government funding.
- Funding for new government initiatives, burdens and pressures, such as unaccompanied asylum seekers, should be adequate to meet our responsibilities.
- Overall the national budget for funding local council services is simply not large enough to maintain vital services such as children’s and adult social care.
The government is now considering our response and those of other councils and is expected to announce a new funding formula later in 2019.
How you can help
You can help by:
Working together with our residents, community groups and local businesses we believe we can convince the government that Derbyshire deserves more.
Everyone in Derbyshire is doing their share to make money go further and help keep local services running so now we're asking the government to give Derbyshire its fair share.
We're doing our share by working tirelessly to ensure every penny we spend is value for money, finding ways of doing more for less and being ambitious for Derbyshire. We are keeping council tax as low as possible while protecting frontline services as much as we can.
Derbyshire residents are doing their share too. As central government funding falls, our residents and businesses are paying more in council tax to make up the difference. Is that fair?