Jamie Hailstone 27 July 2016

Derbyshire under spends budget, despite cuts

The leader of Derbyshire CC has warned of further cuts in the future, despite a planned underspend of more than £32m this year.

According to a report that went before cabinet members yesterday (26 July), the council spent £32.4m less than expected in the 2015/16 financial year, thanks to tight financial management, cutting services and using contingency funds.

The underspend will be held in reserve and used by departments to support services in the years to come.

But council leader, Cllr Anne Western, said £32m must be seen ‘against a backdrop of £40m cuts we’ve been forced to make in the same year, with more cuts to come up to at least 2020’.

The cabinet report also shows the council currently has just over £52m in general reserves, but by 2020/21, the local authority will only have around £14m.

‘By 2020, the funding we get from central government will have been cut to such an extent that the council will be spending a third less on delivering services than it would need to maintain the services it delivered in 2010,’ said Cllr Western.

‘We have budgeted carefully and wisely, and while we do have reserves, these are earmarked for specific projects, are held for schools, needed for liability insurance or emergency situations or held back to help us deal with on-going cuts and ensure the most vital services can continue.

‘Over the next few years, we will also be more reliant on money generated by business rates, which may or may not be enough, and we must have a contingency plan to deal with sudden shocks to the local economy, for example when local businesses like Leaderflush and Courtaulds fail,’ she added.

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