Council's budget consultation goes live
Published: 17 December 2020
Yesterday (Wednesday 16th December) Derby City Council’s Cabinet approved plans to consult on our Revenue and Capital Budget, setting out DCC’s spending plan for 2021/22 - 2023/24.
Thanks to the hard work of colleagues across the Council and extra Government funding as a result of COVID-19, I’m pleased to announce that we’re proposing a balanced budget (subject to consultation) for 2021/22, which will be discussed at the meeting next week. Showing restraint in public spending over the past two and half years and avoiding politically motivated vanity projects has helped us to focus on doing the simple things well and enabled us to resist the need to make serious savings on core public services and job losses.
Responding to the impacts of COVID-19 represents one of the greatest challenges we as a Council, and as a city have ever faced. But despite the huge increase in demand for our services, the Council, its partners, residents and businesses have collaborated like never before – we are stronger together, and at our best when we are working alongside the people of Derby.
Together we’ve built and rebuilt services from scratch; empowered our communities, and helped them to become more resilient; and we’ve quickly redirected our focus to deliver what our city needs, when it needs us.
We’re determined not to forget the lessons we’ve learnt during COVID, and our new approach – working better together – will run across the Council, including throughout our proposed budget.
This year our spending plans, Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) i being presented to Cabinet alongside a draft Recovery Plan for Derby, which sets out clear priorities for the next 18 months, and details how we’ll focus on the things that really matter to the people of Derby.
Our MTFP provides the financial plan that is going to help us to achieve this - setting a framework for the future.
How will we deliver?
In order to be clear on how we can achieve our outcomes, focus on our priorities, meet the challenges we face and deliver our services over the next three years, we’ve taken a strategic approach to our budget; looking at services, partnerships and resource allocations. We’re investing in priorities for the city and supporting our vulnerable people.
We’ll do this by;
- Working with the city; re-building and re-shaping services that are based on local needs and that are sustainable for the future, in line with the resources that we have available to us.
- Understanding what our city needs now; working to deliver against our recovery plan, protecting our frontline services, and investing in our city’s recovery
- Building financial and service sustainability.
Our financial position
Derby City Council’s MTFP – when compared to many other local authorities – is in strong position, upon which we can build, and deliver for Derby.
We have a balanced budget with no recurrent use of reserves; we’ve worked hard to protect key services, and keep the numbers of potential redundancies to an absolute minimum; and we’re using opportunities from COVID-19 to build back better as a city.
We’ve acknowledged the potential difficulties faced by our residents by introducing an additional £500,000 to our Single Discretionary Award Scheme to help those in need, and we’re consulting on a Council Tax increase of 4.49 per cent – an increase of less than a £1 a week for more than 70 per cent of households in Derby.
Over half of the proposed Council Tax increase is set aside specifically to support social care needs in our community – this point is particularly important, given the significant increase in demand we’ve seen.
The MTFP also includes an ambitious Capital Programme where the Council plan to invest over £346m over the next three years. The programme has been reviewed to reflect the position we and our partners are in as a result of COVID, but we’re proposing an ambitions programme, fit for the future, that prioritises, and looks to external funding bids and the outcomes expected to be delivered for the city and with the city, to put us in the strongest position.
Positively, we expect £12.9m of additional Central Government COVID funding for Derby. That said, we know we need more, and we need longer term certainty on COVID funding.
Due to this uncertainty on levels of future funding from Government the Council is forecasting , there is a forecast budget gap of £10.5m in 2022/23, rising to £13.1m in 2023/24,
We are investing £22.7million into services meeting increased demand, costs as a result of COVID and investing in our priority areas. To achieve a balanced budget we have had to identify £9.6 million of savings. That means some difficult decisions to come, but I know that by working with the city, for the city, we’ll rise to the challenge.
We will build on our collaborative success and focus on how we as a Council can enable the most impact – working together, on what our city needs, in a way that is financially sustainable.
At this point I’d ask for your help. We’ve radically assessed how we operate as a result of COVID-19. We have reshaped the Council’s role to that of an enabler and facilitator, so that we can work better, together, on the things that really matter to the people of Derby. Our dynamic recovery plan sets out our intentions to support the recovery of our city.
To do that we need to understand what you need from us. That’s why, this year, it’s more important than ever for you to have your say, and take part in our budget consultation.
The consultation will open until 17 January 2021, and I implore you to take part.
Cllr Nicola Roulstone
Cabinet Member for Finance