At our Full Council meeting on Wednesday (2 February 2022) we set our net budget for 2022 to 2023 at £618.457 million, reassuring Derbyshire residents it would continue to protect and invest in vital services but highlighting the fact it faced ongoing financial pressures in several areas, significantly in services caring for older and vulnerable people and children.
The budget was set on the same day the government announced that Derbyshire and Derby had been recognised as national `Levelling Up’ leaders, securing a County Deal set to bring substantial investment to the area.
As part of the deal, welcomed by our Leader Councillor Barry Lewis, we and Derby City Council, working alongside 8 other district and borough areas, have been awarded ‘pathfinder’ status. Although exact figures have yet to be announced, it is expected that extra investment will be made across the county and city for a number of programmes and initiatives.
At Full Council on Wednesday it was agreed that the 3% council tax rise would be made up of a 1% adult social care precept (to be spent solely on adult social care) and 2% for our general expenditure.
This will mean an extra 62p per week for an average band B household and for a band D household the rise will be 80p per week.
The agreed Revenue Budget Report also details our savings target, which is approximately £67 million over the course of the Five Year Financial Plan up to 2026 to 2027, with savings needed for the year ahead estimated at £8 million.
Councillor Barry Lewis said:
“We have agreed a fair and balanced budget for the year ahead but this has presented many challenges and they are set to continue for the next few years.
“A lot of consideration has gone into setting the council tax and we believe that a rise of 3%, which is 2% lower than permitted by government, strikes the right balance between funding vital services and meeting the increasing pressures being placed on them, and acknowledging the impact any rise will have on already stretched household budgets.
“In an ideal world there would be no rise at all, but we have to ensure services can support those who need them most, and take into account the continuing and significant rise in demand for adult and children’s social care, as well as the ongoing challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Speaking about Wednesday’s Levelling Up announcement, Councillor Lewis added:
“We welcome this announcement and the significant investment in delivering levelling-up locally by those who know our communities best. The success of being chosen as a `pathfinder’ will improve people’s lives across the county and city.”
Our Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budget Councillor Simon Spencer said:
“I welcome the fact that we have been able to set a strong budget that not only provides for vital council services including care for older and vulnerable people and children, but also gives us scope to invest in our county this year and in the future.
“While we know there are some difficult years ahead, robust planning will continue and we will work hard with partners to overcome the challenges facing the council, ensuring we have county residents at the heart of all that we do.”
As well as the Revenue Budget report, our capital programme was also agreed at the meeting on Wednesday.