`

Cash-strapped Chesterfield council may have to introduce new fees to raise cash

Chesterfield Town Hall.
Chesterfield Town Hall.

Chesterfield Borough Council has said it may look at introducing new fees and charges to raise money amid ongoing financial challenges.

The council has also warned it ‘may no longer be able to continue to provide the breadth and quality of discretionary services that it currently offers’.

The Derbyshire Times has learned the grant the Labour-led authority will receive from central Government for 2018-19 will be £6million lower than it was in 2010 - a decrease of 59.5 per cent.

By 2020-21, it is expected the council will receive no central Government grant at all - meaning the authority will have to finance itself.

At a meeting next Tuesday, cabinet members are expected to approve an increase in council tax and £200,000 of savings over the next year.

READ MORE: Chesterfield council plans to raise tax and make £200k savings in coming year

A report for councillors states: “The medium term forecast shows that the council continues to face financial challenges in the years ahead and all the indications are that this is likely to continue over the longer term, through to and beyond 2022.

“The council has a very good track record of delivering budget savings and income growth but the task is becoming increasingly difficult and, while every effort will be made to avoid such a situation, the council may no longer be able to continue to provide the breadth and quality of discretionary services that it currently offers.

“Further growth in income will be important from our ‘trading activities’ i.e. venues, leisure, car parking, planning, industrial and commercial assets etc. We could also look at introducing new fees and charges to raise income.

“Although the council has a track record of delivering savings, the challenge of implementing savings on this scale and within tight timescales should not be underestimated.

“The council does have reserves which could be used to bridge a short term deficit but, given that the deficit forecasts are increasing year-on-year from 2019-20 and the fact that reserves are declining and can only be used once, the aim must be to make the required savings and/or generate new income within the financial year.

“Based on the current savings planned forecasts, the council should be able to deliver a balanced budget in 2018-19.”