Derbyshire County Council may need to slash a further £30 million from its bill over the next five years, it has been announced.
Shock new figures revealed by the Coalition Government suggest the council’s £127 million cuts target will soar.
In an unexpected consultation on council spending levels, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) indicates its plans for: a 27.6 per cent cut in support grant between 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 − costing the council £21.2 million more than expected.
Further recent announcements that will impact on the council’s budget include changes to National Insurance contributions − costing the council £3 million.
There are also further limits on council tax increases − costing the council £1.3 million, top-slicing the New Homes Bonus − costing the council £3 million, and cuts to the Education Support Grant which will cost the council a further £2.5 million.
Council leader Coun Anne Western described the potential changes outlined by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles as extremely challenging.
She said: “We’re already facing a massive £127 million cut to our budget. But the latest news to come from Mr Pickles’ department is that it will increase to £157 million.
“It is high time the secretary of state stood up for local government and the vitally important local services it provides. And we have no guarantee that this is the end of the cuts imposed by the Coalition Government.”
Coun Western added:“Mr Pickles and his coalition government are placing an impossible burden on councils. They have already demanded more cuts to council spending than to any other public service − including their own departments.
“By 2015, council budgets will have been cut by a third. It is grossly unfair when Whitehall departments have cut just 12 per cent from their spending over the same period.”
Counc Western has written to all Derbyshire councils calling on them to join together in a bid to secure a fairer deal for Derbyshire.
“Local people rely on our services. We provide a trusted and vital lifeline for thousands of vulnerable people in their own homes.
The Coalition Government is making it almost impossible for councils to deliver even a basic level of service − important services that our communities rely on.
“Together we stand a better chance of being listened to. But a budget hole of this size will mean the end of some services − there’s no way to avoid them.
“But we will consult and talk to local people throughout so they have the chance to help shape what we do.”