Have your say and help shape the 2019 County Council budget

Published on: Wednesday, 5th December 2018

Nearly 5,000 people have told Derbyshire County Council which services matter most to them as part of the authority’s annual budget consultation to help shape next year’s spending.

The county council launched a six-week consultation at the beginning of November to gather residents’ views before it makes any final decisions about where it will spend its budget for 2019-2020 in the new year.

Residents have been keen to take the opportunity to give their views via an online survey at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/budget and those that haven’t yet taken part have until Sunday 16 December when the consultation closes.

The consultation is made up of five main questions, with the first two asking residents to indicate what they think should be the council’s top three and bottom three priorities from a provided list.

There is also a section on the form where residents can tell the council if there are other priorities that are not listed, that they think the council should spend money on.

Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said: “We’ve had an excellent response so far to this year’s budget consultation and there’s still plenty of time for Derbyshire residents to have their say.

“Thanks to social media we’re able to reach more people and we’re getting a wide range of views and comments which we welcome and encourage.

“Pressures on our budget are well-known and we need to continue to make bold decisions, ensure we spend every pound wisely and put value for money at the heart of everything we do.

“The proposed council tax rise will fund essential services and help us to plan for the future, which includes a council tax freeze in 2020-21 for two years.

“It’s really important to us that we hear the views of Derbyshire residents before we make any final decisions on how the budget is spent next year, so we hope people who haven’t taken part in the consultation yet do so before the deadline of Sunday 16 December.”

As well as asking residents to indicate what they think the council’s top priorities should be, people completing the questionnaire can also give their views on a proposed council tax rise, with the option of choosing 3.99%, 4.99% or neither. If they choose neither, there is section where they can explain their reasons why.

A rise of 3.99% would consist of 2% to fund adult care services and the remaining 1.99% could be used to fund other council priorities including children’s services (costing an average council tax payer in a band B property an extra 76p per week/£40 per year).

A rise of 4.99% would consist of 2% to fund adult care services and the remaining 2.99% could be used to help fund other council priorities including children’s services (costing an average council tax payer in a band B property an extra 95p per week/£49 per year).

The proposed 2% increase to fund adult care services is in line with Government guidance and is the last year of a three year agreement with Government to increase council tax for this purpose.

Greater demands on adult social care and services for vulnerable children, reduced Government grants, inflation and meeting the National Living Wage are all presenting challenges for the authority as it works to balance the books.

Over the next five years the council has forecast it must make total savings of £70m, which will take the total saved by the council between 2010-2022 to £327m.

The budget consultation survey is also available as a paper questionnaire in all county libraries for people who prefer to fill out a paper form or do not have access to the internet. People taking part have the chance to win a £100 gift voucher in a prize draw.

No decisions will be made on the council’s budget until its Cabinet has considered the responses to the consultation, alongside any legal and contractual reasons why the authority must continue to provide particular services.  The council will also be looking carefully at how any proposed savings would affect the needs of different groups of people in the community.

Firm budget proposals will be considered by Cabinet in January 2019. Further consultation will then be held and Derbyshire residents will again get the chance to have their say about some individual proposals before final decisions are made.

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