Multi-million pound cuts and council tax hike rubber-stamped

Multi-million pound cuts to services and a council tax hike in Derbyshire have been rubber-stamped at a heated debate.

By Michael Broomhead
Thursday, 6th February 2014, 11:11 am
County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) officially approved the £36.7million savings for the next year and a 1.99 per cent increase in the tax during a six-hour meeting in Matlock yesterday.

Subject to consultation, the cuts would result in 2,700 adults losing their social care and disabled youngsters paying to get to and from school.

In addition, the Labour-led authority is likely to cut £9m from its housing-related support budget, which would affect thousands of vulnerable people, and take all ten of its mobile libraries off the road.

The council tax rise, which will generate £5m, means an increase of £21.49 a year for a band D property and £16.71 a year for a band B property. Most homes in Derbyshire fall into those two bands.

DCC – which must save £157m over the next four years and slash 1,600 jobs – blamed Government cuts to local authorities for the “devastating” situation.

Leader Councillor Anne Western said: “We have some really, really difficult decisions to make – we’re facing many challenges.

“I’ve got a huge personal pride in this council and I don’t want to see any cuts but we have no choice – this is an impossible situation forced upon us by the Coalition Government.”

Speaking about the council tax hike, DCC deputy leader Cllr Kevin Gillot added: “I don’t underestimate the effect this increase will have on residents. It will have serious consequences for families.”

Conservative Cllr Mike Longden responded: “So why is your party imposing a 1.99 per cent council tax increase when more people are using food banks?”

Cllr Andrew Lewer, leader of the Conservatives on DCC, said: “It doesn’t help anyone to have a council tax hike which is why we’d freeze it again if we were in power.

“We don’t support this budget.”