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First Council Tax rise in three years approved

Chesterfield borough councillors have decided to increase Council Tax by 6.4p a week for the majority of residents – the first rise in three years.

The increase – which means the Chesterfield Borough Council share of Council Tax rises by £3.33 a year for band A properties in the borough – will generate an extra £141,358 across the whole borough to spend on essential services. 

It comes as the council faces a £1.5 million funding cut in the next 12 months, equivalent to £31 less to spend on services for each household in Chesterfield.

This is on top of the £4 million of savings the council has already delivered since the austerity cuts began in 2010 – equivalent to around £82 less per household.

As well as increasing Council Tax councillors approved plans to generate extra income, further reduce the number of senior managers, continue to make back office efficiencies, and to reduce services to deal with the rest of the funding shortfall.

Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: "Despite facing severe austerity cuts every year since 2010 we managed to freeze Council Tax for Chesterfield Borough Council services over the past two years.

"But the scale of cuts being asked of councils up and down the country in 2016/17 and beyond is so huge that local authorities are being left with little option but to increase Council Tax.

"In fact by 2020 the council will have £5.6 million less in funding than we had in 2010 – which is a 60 per cent cut in the money available to provide services for local people.

"No councillors from any political party want to increase Council Tax or reduce services in any way but when faced with austerity cuts of that scale we have had to make some tough choices while protecting frontline services as much as possible."

In addition to considering the Council Tax increase councillors approved budget measures that will see the council: 

  • make further reductions to the number of senior managers saving £58,000 next year on top of the £290,000 of savings already made
  • seek staff voluntary redundancies or voluntary early retirements to save £250,000
  • save £90,000 by not filling vacant posts or delaying appointments 
  • generate £50,000 of additional income from trading new services that can be reinvested into core council services
  • save £50,000 in back office efficiencies 
  • seek an additional £30,000 of income from investments
  • make £22,500 of efficiency savings in building cleaning 
  • carry out an efficiency review of CCTV to invest in new equipment but also make £57,000 of savings 
  • generate more income to reduce the running costs of council venues by £47,500
  • pass on the direct cost of credit card payment fees, saving £37,500 

Although Chesterfield Borough Council collects Council Tax from residents it only receives 10 per cent of that money to pay for services including bin collections, street cleaning, sports and park facilities, regeneration, theatres and tourism.

Derbyshire County Council – which receives 74 per cent of the Council Tax money collected – has decided to raise its share of the Council Tax bill by 3.99 per cent. Two per cent of this increase will be spent specifically on the adult social care services they provide, with the rest going on other services, which include education, roads and street lighting, children and family services, and libraries. 

Derbyshire Constabulary, which receives 11 per cent of council tax bill money, has agreed to increase its part of the bill by 1.99 per cent.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, which gets 5 per cent of council tax bill funding, has decided to raise its portion of the bill by 1.98 per cent. 

First published on 26 February 2016 Last updated on 31 October 2016