Council tax is set to rise by four per cent and services slashed by £35million over the next year in Derbyshire.
Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet met in Matlock on Tuesday to approve its budget for 2016/17.
The cash-strapped authority – which needs to save a total of £157m by 2018 because of Government austerity – says it ‘simply has no choice’ but to make the savings.
The £35m cuts – many of which will be subject to public consultation – include:
• A review of children’s centres which could lead to the closure of 32, including in Chesterfield’s Queen’s Park, Hasland, Dronfield, Eckington, Killamarsh, Bakewell, Wirksworth, Ripley, Somercotes, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills, Long Eaton, Kirk Hallam and Belper
• Reducing the money available for Aiming High short breaks for disabled children and young people and then cutting all the funding from October 2016
• Cutting the money available for home to school transport for pupils aged over 16 with disabilities or learning difficulties, under-fives and some eight-to-11-year-olds
• Slashing bus subsidies by £1.5m
• Multi-million pound cuts to highways maintenance
A ‘significant’ number of jobs will be lost as a result of the cutbacks, according to the council.
The Labour-led cabinet also passed plans for a 3.99 per cent rise in council tax.
This year authorities were, for the first time, given Government permission to raise council tax by up to two per cent in addition to the maximum two per cent ordinarily permitted.
But the extra cash has to be spent on care for the elderly and disabled.
A 3.99 per cent rise in council tax means an increase of £34.77 a year – or 67p a week – for a Band B property.
Council leader Anne Western said: “Cutting services is the last thing anyone involved in local government wants to do – these are quality services that have taken years to build up, run by skilled and dedicated staff and valued and relied upon by local people.
“But we simply have no choice. If we don’t balance our books then the Government would take over.”
The Tories accused Labour of being ‘out of touch’.
The council tax hike and £35m cuts are expected to be rubber-stamped at a future meeting of the full council.