COLUMN: "My focus as council leader is to make sure that we provide the very best possible services at the lowest cost to you", says Derbyshire County Council leader Barry Lewis

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

This week at Derbyshire County Council we are setting our budget for the next year which will decide how much money is spent on public services

The decisions taken at County Hall affect all parts of our community, from deciding how much money is spent on repairing roads, through to dictating the level of support that is given to more vulnerable people, including senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Only part of our budget comes from your council tax bill or business rates, the rest comes from the Government.

You probably don’t need me to tell you that we have far less money to spend than we used to.

In future years we will have even less because the Government requires us to save a further £63.2 million over the next five years, which is about 12 per cent of our current budget.

We are facing these considerable challenges while doing everything we can to keep council tax rises to the minimum because we do not want to put any more strain on household budgets that we have to.

This year we are proposing to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent, lower than the maximum 4.99 per cent allowed, which we expect most councils in the UK to adopt.

We are proud of the fact that people in Derbyshire pay less for their county council services than most people in the UK.

We want this to continue, while ensuring that most of the extra revenue created will go towards providing services for people who are vulnerable.

This includes the help that we give to children who are deemed at risk, as well as care and assistance for older people.

We will do this while continuing to invest in Derbyshire’s roads, which has already seen us fix 67,000 potholes in the past year.

We are proud of our highways service which is rightly considered to be one of the best in the country.

My focus as council leader is to make sure that we provide the very best possible services at the lowest cost to you.

We are changing how the council operates to do this, becoming more enterprising and efficient in the way that we deliver services while working much closer with our community.

I am not pretending it is easy, but I want you to know that our sleeves are rolled up working hard for the people of our great county.