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10p a week more to maintain top status

Your District Council has voted unanimously to increase its part of Council Tax by an average 10p a week to balance the impact of another cut in central government funding and maintain its status as one of the best performing rural districts in England.

The 20% funding cut in 2017/18, combined with financial pressures such as the National Living Wage and the Apprentices Levy, means that to maintain its services at an acceptable level, the District Council is increasing its part of Council Tax by 2.6%, which is £5 extra per year for a band D property.

Although the District Council collects Council Tax on behalf of all local authorities and agencies, it only spends 12% of the total - the equivalent of just 54p a day on services such as waste and recycling collections, four leisure centres, health and crime prevention initiatives, maintaining more than 30 parks and gardens, helping local business, markets, planning, licensing and enabling affordable homes for local people.

Bills go out to all households in the Dales next week and Derbyshire County Council's share of the Council Tax collected is 70%.

The central government cut in 2017/18 comes on top of grant reductions of 21% in 2016/17, 13.8% in 2015/16 and 10.8% in 2014/15, and the District Council says it is trying hard to minimise service cuts, despite having to find additional ongoing savings of £1.6 million in the next three years.

Cllr Lewis Rose OBESpeaking last night (Thursday 2 March) at the Annual Budget Meeting, which can be watched again on the District Council's YouTube channel, Council Leader Councillor Lewis Rose OBE said the second Council Tax rise in seven years which was "no mean achievement".

He went on:

"The inflation rate and cost of providing services over that seven year period bears no comparison to this modest request and it only goes to prove that we have worked hard to reduce costs and make savings in many ways, as well as increasing income to help balance the books.

"I have not been afraid from time to time to criticise governments of all political colours when they have not treated district councils fairly or have ignored the extra costs of providing services in sparse rural areas such as ours. We need to continue to lobby the government and make it clear to our MP that rural areas like ours need to be properly recognised as extra costs are incurred."

Councillor Rose said social care should not be funded by taking money from one tier of local government and giving it to another and stressed that business rate retention needed to ensure that rural districts were treated fairly. More should not go to higher tier authorities at the District Council's expense.

Pointing out that there was no room for complacency because of a continuing downward trend in central funding, Councillor Rose said:

"This means all the effort we have put into finding savings must of necessity continue in earnest. Nothing is sacrosanct, particularly non-statutory services such as public conveniences, discretionary rate relief, markets, charging for car parking in car parks which have been previously free or charging for green waste collection."

Annual Budget MeetingThe District Council had to ask these fundamental questions: 

  • Do we need to provide this service at all?
  • Can it be provided better by others?
  • Can we improve it ourselves?
  • Can we work in partnership with others to provide this service?

Ongoing reviews had continued to ask these questions and would continue to do so, Councillor Rose said, adding:

"The Leisure Review puts this into very sharp focus as that it is our costliest and largest non-statutory service and the Council has already embarked on a fundamental change to how our four leisure centres are delivered. If this Review is to make the savings we hope then we have to look very carefully at the specification while trying to juggle that with the public’s expectations."

Councillor Rose thanked all staff for what they had done and what they were doing to achieve savings and pointed to a list of savings already banked, including the council's administration service, discretionary grants and other areas.

"Despite all this our public expect more and want us to maintain the excellent level of services we provide," Councillor Rose said. "We will do our best to do so for the time being, but the expectation of further grant reductions and other changes highlighted in the report make it clear that more fundamental changes may have to carefully evaluated."

Councillor Rose went on to list "significant highlights" including the Local Plan, which was on course to be examined in May this year, the introduction of hi-tech car park machines across the district and hitting economic development objectives with support from Sheffield City Region, D2N2 and the Peak Leader programme, adding:

"The council's ambition to help provide more affordable homes for local residents forms a substantial part of our capital programme and demonstrates to all concerned that the council puts its money where its mouth is!"

In conclusion, Councillor Rose said:

"Our aims remain the same - to keep the Dales as one of the best performing small rural districts in England for as long as we can, to continue to punch above our weight, to continue to give value for money and do more for less, to maintain as many front line services as we can, but in doing so it is our duty as members to take responsibility for our decisions and explain them to our constituents when the need arises. Despite all the many challenges that face us, let us continue to work together to achieve these important aims."

The increase for each Council Tax band is shown in the table below:

Band

Council Tax 2016/17

Proposed Council Tax for 2017/18

Increase on previous year

Increase per week

Band A

£128.89

£132.23

£3.34

£0.06

Band B

£150.38

£154.26

£3.88

£0.07

Band C

£171.86

£176.30

£4.44

£0.09

Band D

£193.34

£198.34

£5.00

£0.10

Band E

£236.30

£242.42

£6.12

£0.12

Band F

£279.27

£286.49

£7.22

£0.14

Band G

£322.23

£330.57

£8.34

£0.16

Band H

£386.68

£396.68

£10.00

£0.19 

  • Council Tax in Band D is currently £193.34 in 2016/17. The proposed increase of £5 a year for band D, or 10p a week, (equating to an extra 2.6%) takes the Band D Council Tax rate to £198.34 in 2017/18.
Your District Council has voted unanimously to increase its part of Council Tax by an average 10p a week to balance the impact of another cut in central government funding and maintain its status as one of the best performing rural districts in England.

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