Council approves raft of savings

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

The county council confirmed it plans to balance its budget last week.

To kick start a raft of cost-cutting measures to meet the ‘unprecedented’ shortfall of £157m from the Government, leader Cllr Anne Western announced the Labour group will forego their one per cent allowance increase, adding £7,500 to a new ‘Derbyshire Challenge’ fund.

But controversially the axe has fallen on the Derbyshire Young Achiever and Excellence in the Community award schemes, saving £30,000.

Cuts to the civic budget add £45,000 to the fund and £35,000 has been saved by axing the council’s chauffeur.

“It is clear we inherited a very difficult situation,” said Cllr Western.

“The council’s budget – set by the previous administration – was balanced by the use of reserves and underspends leaving a significant black hole of unidentified cuts.

“As well as facing huge cuts to our budgets, we must also make big changes to the way the council operates to make it fit-for-purpose and best-placed to protect frontline services. It’s disappointing that all this wasn’t started four years ago.”

But leader of the Conservatives, Cllr Andrew Lewer, said Labour’s plan was ‘nothing new’.

“Invest to save is nothing new at Derbyshire County Council,” he said.

“It has been a key plank of how we delivered excellent services whilst achieving savings getting towards £100m.”