Council proposes a balanced budget
Published: 13 December 2022
Derby City Council is proposing a balanced budget for the next financial year in the face of a ‘perfect storm’ of rising costs and inflation.
Just as household budgets have been hit by increasing costs, councils across the country have also been affected as demand grows for services, particularly for the most vulnerable children and elderly people.
Through a mixture of additional Government funding for Social Care, management of demand, savings and an increase in Council Tax, the Council plans to consult on a balanced budget for 2023/24. The proposals will go to public consultation after the Council’s Cabinet review them on Wednesday 21 December.
In addition to the Council having to find unprecedented savings for next year in a very short space of time, it is forecasting the need for a further similar amount by 2025/26 without local government funding reforms.
Derby City Council is proposing to increase its Council Tax by the maximum allowed without a separate referendum in order to protect its most vital services. This would mean increasing council tax by 4.99%, with 2% of this ringfenced for adult social care – a key pressure for councils across the country. A household living in a Band D property would be likely to see their bill increase by £78.74 a year.
Elsewhere residents are likely to see a reduction in some services, changes in the way others are delivered, and an increase in fees and charges in some areas.
Tough decisions have had to be proposed to balance the budget which impact across all Council services. Proposed reductions include:
- A review of the Council’s Early Help offer to focus on the most vulnerable children and families in need
- Reviewing Adult Social Care packages to focus on the most critical needs of the most vulnerable people living in the community
- Ending the Council’s subsidy of Community Managed Libraries from the end of the financial year, effectively ending the service, and including the premises in a Council review of all community buildings
- Exploring options for the Council’s leisure services, to consider outsourcing to an operating partner
- Reducing the frequency and service offer for ‘street scene’ services, including grounds and highways maintenance and street cleansing
- New ways of working in locality teams by even greater partnership working to support the most vulnerable
- Reviewing Council House opening hours
- Focused work with partners to encourage further support from developers, investors and government to promote and deliver regeneration in City Centre schemes
While the Council will seek to minimise compulsory staff redundancies as far as possible, the service changes being proposed will require 162 fewer full time Equivalent (FTE) posts, of which some are vacancies.
The true financial position for Derby City Council will be known later this month when the Government announces its funding settlement.
Councillor Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Finance, Digital and Culture, said:
The global and national economic situation has presented councils across the country with unprecedented funding challenges this year. Setting a balanced budget for the coming financial year has been difficult, and we have had to consider the impact of changes in Council Tax and service delivery against the wider picture of protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
We want to hear the public’s view on these proposals more than ever before, because we have faced some extremely tough choices. But deciding not to go ahead with one proposal will mean having to find equivalent savings elsewhere.
We’re looking to mitigate the impact where we can, building on the strengths of our communities and by working with our partners. We know that we can achieve more in the city if we work together.
Let me be clear – this is not the budget we wanted to set, and we still have considerable work to do, with more savings to find over the next two financial years. We will continue to lobby national Government to find a solution to the issue of funding for local councils.
The report for the Cabinet meeting on 21 December can be found here.